Saturday, June 24, 2017
The Unsettling 9s
People often go through a time of existential crisis when they hit an age ending in “9.” 29, 39, 59, 79 -whatever. There shouldn't be anything special about say 39 or 38 or even 40. In the big scheme of things the ages are not much different. However, there is something about a birthday before a decade change that stimulates self-reflection and self-assessment.
It never hit me that way before. The age that got to me was 26. Weird, right? Why 26? Well, I was in a totally different place than most of my childhood friends. I'd been a firefighter for over 7 years, was married,had children and a house. Those all are normal adult milestones. My friends, however, were often freshly out of college and getting into exciting careers. Few were married and even fewer had children. Their lives looked so exciting. While I had no regrets, life had settled into a pattern.
After 26 it was clear sailing. 29, 39, and even 49 were no problem at all. I thought I was immune from the unsettling 9s. Then I hit 59. It caught up to me then. There were a number of things leading up to my 59th year. My dad, who I was very close to, passed away. My lovely wife and I lost our boat in a shipwreck. For the first time time in many years we stayed home during a New Hampshire winter. Then my leg got injured and greatly limited my mobility for months.
Suddenly, staring at 60 felt like a big deal. There is so much yet to do, and mortality is creeping up on me. There are things I've yet to do and experiences yet to experience. There are plans I've been sitting on for years. It's time to move on them or forget about them. I'm even considering things like fixing up the house and selling it in a few years. Not sure that's what will happen, but I'm thinking about things I'd never considered before. It could be worse. I could be looking at getting a sports car or having an affair. There's nothing wrong with change, but there's no sense in being foolish about it.
I've decided to embrace this “9” year and use it to inspire my next adventures.