Warning to my beloved readers. This will likely be a long, disjointed ramble in the vein of Grampa Simpson. I’m old now, dontcha know, and I’ve earned a few minutes of “off my lawn” time, dammit. Also, I seem to be enamored with scare quotes today.
Yup, it’s my birthday, at least according to the algorithms at the all-knowing Facebook. That’s how I recall anyone’s birthday these days..how about you? Anyhow, I’ve been bombarded today with the usual greetings from my “Facebook Friends,” those acquaintances who generally exist only within the ether of the Information Superhighway.
That phrase right there should tell you roughly how old I am today. As if the silver patches on my chin weren’t enough of a clue.
I’m apparently part of a sub-generation between Gen X and Gen y – those of us born in the late Seventies and very early Eighties are old enough to recall the “analog” world, but are adaptable enough to thrive in the modern “digital” world. Indeed, I learned to type on an actual typewriter. I also recall smacking the top and sides of a tube television to encourage it to tune.
Hell, my high-school business computing class taught me the fundamentals of Lotus 1-2-3! There’s a skill that comes in handy these days.
So, yeah, I’m old. But I’m not that old. I can handle the self checkout at the grocery – I actually prefer it over interacting with a cashier, though that could be my misanthropy oozing to the surface. I can manage the modern roundabout that suburban planners have fallen in love with. I especially enjoy a deserted traffic circle, where I can smack the center kerb and imagine I’m two-wheeling a mid-Nineties BTCC car.
But I’m starting to feel properly old.
Worse – I’m looking into the future at what hopefully might be a retirement..and I’m not sure I can see it happening.
I’m certain that I’ve lamented here and there about my career trajectory. I’ve been working for over twenty years. I’m reminded that had I listened to the recruiter all those years ago, I could be retired from the military now. But here I am, struggling to start a new-ish career (this writing thing) while feeding the family with the old career (sales).
I look at my parents. Mom has basically been doing the same thing for a few different companies since she was 34 – and prior to that, had a good career as a nurse. Dad had a few fits and starts in retail, but settled into a sales career at 36, and stayed in the same industry for the rest of his life.
I’m over that fabled hill now..and I’m nowhere near settled into a career. While the day job is decent, it’s not a place that gives me any upward mobility. And it’s not like I love what I’m doing.
The writing career? Well, I love doing it. But I don’t love that it gets wedged into those hours when I’d rather be a dad. Relaxing, watching the kids at their various sporting events..doesn’t happen as much as I like.
And writing about cars? It’s not exactly a growing industry. Especially in Ohio. Were I more centrally-located in Detroit or Los Angeles, it might be more of an option. In Columbus…it’s not easy to make a living writing about cars.
One thing that is pretty damned perfect? The family. The kids make every day an adventure. The ONLY complaint I have about Heather is her ineptness at picking winning lottery numbers.
I need to figure out where to go from here. The milestone birthday is merely a kick in the ass to get moving in one way or another. If anyone has suggestions in which way to move my ass..I’m all ears.
And, for those of you who got this far..thanks for the birthday wishes.
By the way..
Volvo photo Via Tony Harrison, on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tonysphotos/191988345, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)