It has been, quite literally, years since I have sat down to write anything for personal reasons. I’ve written for work, and I’ve written for school, but beyond occasional forays in attempting to update my Morning Pages, I haven’t sat down to just write about or for myself. I don’t know exactly why, to be honest. I mean, I have theories. Lack of anyone actually giving a shit about what I have to say pretty much tops that list. In the world of social media, long form personal posts seem like quaint old relics from days gone by, and the effort that goes into creating them seems wasted. After all, if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, having an audience is really the only reason one writes for public consumption.
I’m also tired. So very tired. I’m in the final semester of my educational career. I have eleven more weeks of what looks to be an absolute grind before I finish my Masters of Business Administration at the University of Maryland University College. I took a three-year break from school after earning my Associates Degree in 2008, and with the exception of one semester have been in school non-stop since the Spring of 2011. In that time I’ve earned a Bachelor’s Degree and my first Master’s Degree. When I considered my current career path it made sense to enroll in the Dual MBA program at my school and take on another year of courses, but I’d be lying if I said that it hasn’t been a monumental challenge to keep up. Every time I look at the course work for this final class I feel an overwhelming sense of anxiety and wonder if there is any possible way I can get everything done. I’ve had this feeling often throughout my academic career, and my wife always reminded me that every time I’ve felt that way I’ve proved myself wrong, but this time feels different.
I suppose it always does.
I’m going to be glad when it is over, though. I’m ready for the next chapter of my life, the one that doesn’t involve going to school, to begin. I’m ready to get back on stage (I decided, after realizing how intense the DMBA program was, not to audition for any more shows in 2017). I’m ready to take vacations where I don’t have to worry about having an Internet connection so that I can log in and get course work done. I’m ready to try and find a love of reading again, because the amount I’ve had to do for school has made me absolutely loathe picking up a book unless I absolutely have to. I’m just ready to move on.
Of course moving on from school means facing the reality of paying back my student loans, which at this point are the equivalent of a second mortgage, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Unlike many folks who graduate from school with large debt, I’ve already established a career that will, at the very least, make it somewhat less painful to pay them back.
My current state of tiredness is also the result of a much more immediate situation. Last week, Hurricane Irma decided to pay a visit to our state. When the track shifted to put the eye directly over our area late Friday night, Lisa and I decided that it was wise to get the hell out of dodge. We packed up the animals and my son and took off to shelter with friends in Jacksonville. Ironically, the storm seemed to take a much harsher toll on that area, mainly due to flooding, but we still came through unscathed. When we returned home on Tuesday our power was out, and it wasn’t restored until days later. I’m incredibly grateful that a loss of electricity was the worst damage we faced as a result of the storm, but I cannot emphasize enough the amount of psychological stress I feel during power outages. It’s hard to explain in a way that doesn’t make me sound like a spoiled, petulant brat. Our home is my sanctuary. In a world where I often feel I have very little control over my destiny, the house we share is a place where I feel I have control. It’s clean and orderly, because that makes us happy. It’s filled with things that are important to us. It’s where we spend the majority of our time together, and to be perfectly honest spending time at home with Lisa is pretty much my favorite thing in the entire universe. When that is disrupted, say with a lack of electricity, I am an absolute mess. When I don’t look forward to going home at night, I cannot think straight. I’m irritable. I’m distracted. It’s just a horrible experience for me, and I’m sure everyone around me. Even now, several days after the storm has passed and power has been restored, I’m still off-kilter. I’m sure the fact that I ate a bunch of really horrible food and drank way too much during the days of the storm isn’t helping, either.
It’s funny, though. One of my biggest issues about dealing with the lack of power is the accompanying lack of air conditioning, but as I write this I’m voluntarily sitting outside and it’s pretty damned hot. I suppose it’s ultimately the difference between choosing to sit outside in the heat and being forced to because it’s even more miserably oppressive inside.
I also have a fan on, so there’s that.
I don’t know. Maybe some of how I’m feeling is straight-up mid-life crisis. I’m staring down the barrel of 45. I’ve accomplished a hell of a lot in my life, I know, and I’m well aware that a good deal of what I’ve accomplished is because I’ve busted my ass to get here. I’ve been a good employee and a good student. I’ve done my best to be a good husband and a good father, but I’ve screwed that up on more than one occasion. I see those meme’s that ask whether or not the eight-year old version of you would be proud of where you are now, and I just don’t know. I mean, I’m not a Jedi so that would certainly be a bummer for him. But what would he say about me being an Agile Coach? What would he think about the fact that I’m not a famous actor or some sort of world-class software developer? What would he think about how my love for all things “geek” has diminished significantly over the course of the last few years? Would he think I was lame?
Hard to say, really. Unlike many people I know, I don’t actually look back on my childhood/teenage self with fondness. I was…kind of horrible really, both physically and mentally. I was a spoiled, selfish brat, and (especially in my teenage years) the epitome of the much-reviled nerdy “nice guy.” So, really, if the younger version of me wouldn’t be impressed with middle-aged me, that might not be such a bad thing.
But where do I go from here? I’ve got a fantastic career, with a company that I can honestly say I’d be content working for until I retire in 20 (or more) years. I have an amazing wife. I have a home. My son, despite some rocky years there at the end of his teens, is happy and doing well living on his own. I take multiple vacations every year. I don’t have to worry about paying the bills or keeping food on the table. I can pretty much indulge myself on any minor purchase that may flit its way through my head, which has for years been my benchmark of true “success” in life (I’ve always said that I’d know I’d made it when I could walk into a book store and purchase any book I wanted without having to worry about whether or not I could actually afford it…the irony there being that, as I mentioned above, I really don’t like reading very much any more). While I’m not a household name, I have had a long and successful career acting professionally in the Tampa Bay area, and the main hallway in our home is adorned with posters from the many shows I have been in over the course of the last sixteen years.
So, in the immortal words of Josiah Bartlett, “What’s Next?”
It’s a question I don’t know the answer to. Perhaps when I decide to write another blog post in two years I’ll have figured it out.