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.
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Apr 25, 2012
I’ve been thinking along these lines, too, lately for a lot of reasons. Soon, I’ll have been a Dad for 11 years, married for 13 years, and the same age my brother took his life. Milestones to be sure. Milestones I couldn’t imagine 30 years ago, or even 15 for that matter. Every year still feels like I’m on the cusp because I still experience so much that is new.
I guess this is the mid-life crisis part you hear about, but the concept of already being at the top of the hill and now going down for the next 30 years scares the crap out of me. I prefer to believe that my life will continue as it has before (and I mean this in optimistic sense, because I have come to appreciate the journey) that when I reach the top of one peak, it turns out there is still another peak to climb.
Apr 25, 2012
We all have that feeling of being and doing something big. But as I get older I realize that it isn’t a tangible thing and may not necessarily be seen by me. Sometimes it is an undercurrent, that we create and may never see the results. I heard today we have to ask ourselves the hard questions starting out with “Who Am I?, What do I really want?, What’s my purpose, What are my unique skills and talents, and What do I expect? In the end it’s not really about us is it?
Apr 25, 2012
Plenty of time to become a best-selling author. Of course your body of work will become required reading only after you’ve passed away.
Apr 25, 2012
I recently watched the move ‘In Time’… which the concept of time as money and having a display on your arm with how much time you have left until death has really had me thinking about this whole subject…. I too am at a point in life where I’m proud of what I have accomplished, but feel like there is something bigger on the horizon…. I guess that is what drives me each day… and when I lose that drive, I hope I am in position to retire and reflect back over a life I’m proud of with little regrets.
As always, Glad I made it over here to read your post.
Apr 25, 2012
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their entrances and their exits, and one man in his time plays many parts.” ~ Shakespeare
With birthday number 49 coming up on Monday, I’ve been giving this topic a lot of thought, too.
I’ve decided that we live life in quarters and the first quarter is for growing up. The second quarter is mostly for finding ourselves and maybe having a family. The third quarter, when put in perspective with the first two, is a freaking long time to make a difference, leave a legacy, achieve our goals, or do whatever it is we think we need to do.
I think someone else has greater control or influence over us and what we do for the first two quarters. Our priorities are usually not our own. While we control the third and fourth quarters, the print in the play book seems smudged and unclear much of the time. The uncertainty is freaking uncomfortable.
Frankly, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. But, like you, I can’t help but wonder if I’m on the edge of something. I’ve been feeling like it, whatever “it” is, is just around the corner for the last year.
Twenty-five years is a long time if we have some direction; not so much, if we just wander. I’m trying not to do much of the latter. I don’t want to waste too much time. I don’t know how much, if any, of the 4th quarter I’ll be able to play.
Expectancy (Life) — The Good Men Project
Jun 2, 2012
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