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Archive for July, 2009

The Middle Ages

Middle age, squished between our children and our parents like the ham slice in a thin sandwich, is not for the faint of heart. The pundits used to scream from the rooftops that if we hadn’t saved at least 20% of our salaries since birth we were doomed to sleep on steam grates with newspapers for blankets. Now that the recession has hit, somehow that’s all changed. Now, no matter what we’ve done, we’re doomed to die in harness in aisle four stacking denture cream. We’re also, it seems, engaged in devastating class warfare with the young who are demanding their chance at aisle four. Probably because it lacks the proper “It bleeds, it leads” rhetoric, no one seems to talk much about how we live our lives rather than the work we do to enable us to live them.
One of the nice things about middle age, at least for me, is that I really don’t care much about all those things that seemed so important when I was younger. I no longer wear a bag over my head if I get a less than ideal hair cut. It’s hair, it’ll grow back. I don’t need to fill my life with stuff anymore and, best of all, I don’t care too much about doing things “right”. Young people believe they have all the time in the world and can do and be anything…until life forces them to make choices and decisions that narrow their lives. Those decisions are agonizing and time consuming and we’re so careful to “do it right” I’ve made my choices. I know there are limits in life and that time is, indeed finite. Now I can just do things that I enjoy, like writing and painting, without having to worry about it being publishable material or saleable art. It’s very freeing actually. For all you guys who were in a band in high school, dreaming of being the next great break out band…pick up those drumsticks again. Go out and find some other guys like you and start a new band. You’ve got your own garage now…play in it. Who cares if you’re not the next “It” band…it’s fun. Who cares if you’re terrible as long as you’re having fun. Give me an address, I’ll bring popcorn and cheer. Dreams don’t need to die, they just need to fit the circumstances. It’s time to dream again without the heavy weight of expectations. That’s the freedom of middle age. It’s our time – time to do all those things we gave up to climb the ladder of success – all the way to aisle four. I’d like to suggest that we start living our lives now, not worrying about how anyone will judge us. Viva the ham slice revolution.

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