I read recently where the average life expectancy in the United States is 78.1 years. They break it down by gender, and it’s a little less for men than it is for women. But in any case, it looks like I’ve got about 30 good years left – assuming that I’m still learning and moving forward at the end, and not decrepit.  Otherwise, it’s probably 20 good years and 10 miserable ones. But I’m going to remain positive as things have been pretty good so far.

30 years. Talk about sobering.

30 years ago I was 17 – basically a child who had never done anything on his own. But at 17 I moved out of my home and joined the US Air Force. And so from 17 until 47 (my age now) I’ve had the opportunity to be a man. For 30 years.

For the first 10 of those 30 I was bent on destroying myself and exploring the outer rim of society. However, I survived. The 10 years that followed was all about getting my life back together: finishing college, getting married, starting a career. And for the last 10 years I’ve started a family, launched a business and found my calling as a writer.

I have no regrets. But I can feel regret breathing down my neck. I’ve got 30 years left to do something amazing. Which is not to say my life hasn’t been pretty amazing so far. It has been. It’s not easy coming back from the dead.

But I feel like there’s more. Something bigger. Not necessarily bigger in terms of fame or fortune or anything like that. Bigger in that I feel like my whole life has been speeding toward a thing. A thing that I can’t put my finger on, but that I feel is related to writing. After all, accepting that I’m a writer is the last major event leading out of my previous decade. But how? Maybe I’ll end up telling a story that mobilizes people in a good way? Or maybe I’ll be commissioned by an evil politician to mobilize people in a bad way? I hope I wouldn’t do that, but you never know. Money changes people. And evil politicians pretty much get what they want. Especially when they throw money around. That is, until someone sees the truth about them. I like to think I do that pretty well, so let’s just say that the evil politician scenario isn’t nearly as likely. And if it is, I’ll be sure to rat them out. I might even infiltrate their inner circle to expose their plot to rule the planet with an iron fist. I’ll do it by writing a blog post here that gets RT’d all over the place. Except by the marketing gurus who won’t acknowledge it because it’s not about business. But right – then I’ll be a hero. Yes, that will be the thing.

Thirty years. Like a bullet train flashing across the horizon.


Jim Mitchem

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Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.