Earlier today I watched this video, and it made me sad. Then I read about how ISS astronauts are preparing to monitor a comet passing close to Mars later this year. And that made me sad. I became sad because it occurred to me how life is so big that we never get to experience everything we’d like. No one can do every cool thing there is to do, or have every cool job they’ve ever dreamed of working. Instead, we make the best decisions we can, commit to them, and live our lives. Sure, we can set goals to experience different things, and we can change careers to do different jobs – but mostly we choose the things that are right in front of us. The path of least resistance, if you will. And we get comfortable. Meanwhile, the sand keeps falling in the hourglass. Then, before you know it, you’re a 49-year old marketing guy with two kids and a mortgage. And you watch videos of guys hugging lions and it makes you sad.

I always thought that because of my wild past,  I was somehow immune to a mid-life crisis. But I’m not. It turns out that I’m human. Making my way from homelessness to living something like an American Dream doesn’t feel like enough anymore. There’s a fire inside that longs to hug lions.

Understanding life’s limitations is a terrible ache.


Jim Mitchem

Post - 911
A Letter to America

Jim Mitchem

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