Here's me at 40: A married, suburban, organization man with two terrific kids and this empty feeling I can't quite put my finger on. I do the same thing over and over again, expect a different result, and forget that that's the definition of insanity (maybe it's also the definition of being a modern male).
Me at (almost) 50: Single, urban, entrepreneurial, impassioned, making it up as I go. The kids are still terrific.
In the years between, I feel like I traded certainty for feeling awake, trying to know all the answers for adaptability, the false security of corporate life for the roller-coaster thrill of starting businesses, reaction for action, and being accepted for choosing.**
How about some details, Jeff?
Okay, I am kind of shocked to find myself starting businesses, even these little ones. I'm the English major guy. All I ever wanted to do was hide out in a cabin, scribble scribble scribble, and fling books out to the world every couple years.
Oy, the hubris.
I left the corporate world a few years ago, though, seemingly bound for teaching. (How was YOUR midlife crisis? Mine very nice, thank you.) But, I found out I was actually interested in content marketing. Which was weird, because I'm as cynical about marketing as anyone. One thing led to another and I eventually formed a tiny digital agency with a partner. We also work together on his tech company.
Since the love of writing persists, I write kids books (four so far). I've probably written the best children's poem about a maggot, so I got that going for me. I also have a poetry blog -- I've written a poem a week for the last few years, partly as a writing challenge and partly as a spiritual practice.
Some of the poems are clunkers, to be sure, but there are other times where I get little epiphanies that I don't experience any other way. Chop wood, carry water and all that.
I like learning. I change topics quickly and often without warning. I like talking about ideas. I like commitment. I'm irreverent. I'm not mean. I'll tell you what I think. I like helping my kids become their best selves. I like to riff. Take walks around Ballard or at Discovery Park. Go to indie films. Powell's. I like to wake up Sunday morning and spend a couple hours reading and drinking coffee. I like talking about work. I'd like to hear about yours. I don't like gardening, but I'll sit and talk while you pull weeds or whatever it is you do out there. Let's us support each other and also call each other on our crap. Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. ... Wait, that's Mary Oliver. ***
Irreverent, kind, fit, smart, wordish, ravenously curious, done-work-on-themselves women who've taken the time to figure out and own their own idea of "success" (and likely decupled it from "stuff") are the ones who tend to melt me into molecules.
I've been taking improv classes the past few years and damn it's scary. And revelatory. I get to spend time with a bunch of people being vulnerable, saying "yes, and," and laughing my butt off.
There's a deep sense of "play" in the classes -- in a few different senses of the word. "Delight." "Co-creation." "Looseness."
It's what I'm looking for in a relationship.
Yes, and ...
* Insert the divinity of your choice.
**If you contact me ... thank you. If I don't reply, it's not because I don't think you're amazing or interesting or physically attractive (seriously), it's just that I have a pretty good sense of who I'll click with and ... I'm just so damned busy. Forgive me if I don't reply. Fair is fair, though. If I contact you and you don't reply, I won't take it personally. Probably. Heh.
***Disclaimer: If Mary Oliver ever changes her sexual orientation, tries online dating, and decides she wants to hook up with me, she gets first dibs.