Turning 32

This past Friday was my 32nd birthday and while it's not one of the significant milestone years, I thought it'd be interesting to write something about my life thus far as somewhat of a journal entry. When people in the past have asked, "Do you feel older?" My immediate response was always, "No." The answer didn't change this weekend but as I've started to reflect on it some more, I am starting to feel like I'm no longer young anymore. I'm certainly not old by any means but somewhere in between and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

I don't think I've accomplished that much in my 32 years, especially if you Google "What you should accomplish by the time you're 30", but I can't say I have many regrets either. Most of the decisions I've made have been carefully considered and deliberate. I also have a lot to be thankful for so I try not to spend my time comparing my life to others because even though they may have accomplished more, are they any happier than I am? That's a question I think about a lot when I consider my own level of happiness. My life is very easy for the most part and that's entirely by design, but part of me knows I should be doing more. It's deciding what "doing more" is, that continually stumps me because I don't know how I want to do more.

Would I like a better, higher paying job? Sure, but I also don't want the tradeoffs that come with it. I LOVE getting to work by 7 and leaving by 3 so I can be home by no later than 4. It affords us lots of time to do lots of things in the afternoon or nothing at all as we spend time as a family. If I were still in banking, I wouldn't be home until 5:30 or 6, just enough time to eat dinner and put the kids to bed...yuck. That kind of thing might be okay in a few years when our kids are older but I'm going to soak up as much of these early years as I can. As it is, I feel guilty leaving them on the weekends sometimes to go play games with our friends or go have dinner and catch a movie. But I know taking care of me, taking care of us (Christine and I), is also important. Would I like to start my own business? Absolutely, but again it's a time thing. It's not that I can't find time, it's that I refuse to give it up. I haven't found the thing that will make we want to yet either. My now defunct game publishing company didn't take up much time but it also didn't keep my interest to keep it going.

That's the other thing, I tend to lose interest in something once I've "done it". I wanted to write a book so I did but then I started on another, got more than halfway through and decided I didn't feel like finishing it, so I didn't. I haven't had the inclination to write again. Well not another book, because I guess doing what I'm doing right now isn't that far off. Another example is that I wanted to design a game and get it published. So I designed many, self published one, and then continued to design, but now I don't care all that much if I publish another one. I am in the process of pitching Easy As Pie but if I can't find a publisher, oh well. I can already see my days as a designer coming to an end because the more I play published designs, the more I'd rather just do that then spend time creating something that won't hold a light to some of my favorites. That's not to say I'm giving up because I don't think my stuff can measure up, it's that I'd rather spend my time enjoying something that has had the time put into it by somebody who decided that they could give up their time to do so.

I'm afraid that with each endeavor I take, I'll end up losing interest in being able to do it for the long haul. I want the cliche "do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life" but I don't know if that's something that can happen for me. Maybe I'm just saying that because I haven't found the thing that I love yet. Perhaps it's because I won't let myself find it or I've found it and have ignored it because I don't want to make the sacrifices necessary to make that happen. It's very self-sabotaging and incredibly unhealthy because to go back to earlier in this post, I often consider how happy I am and many times the answer isn't what it should be. I know we all can't be happy all of the time and I am happy MOST of the time because I have many reasons to be. However, there is a constant void in my life that has been unfulfilled because I won't do what has to be done. I don't know if it's from fear, not thinking I deserve it, or sheer laziness but I have to do something at some point. I'm only 32, but I am 32 and not getting any younger.

Happiness is what I think everything boils down to, EVERYTHING. It's naive to think I can be happy all of the time but why can't I be happy 99.9% of the time? I want to wake up every day excited to contribute to society in a way that I think matters. That would make me happy very much in the same way hearing my kids laugh does, or spending time with just Christine does, or seeing the family and friends that I don't see often enough does. I want to make enough money to pay our bills, buy stuff for our kids when they need/want it, and have enough at retirement that Christine and I aren't forced to split a baked potato every night for dinner (if that was the worst thing that ever happened to me, I'd still consider myself blessed). That would make me happy. I want to be able to look back at my life 32 years from now and say "I'm happy that I made the choice to be this way. You should have done it sooner you big baby but I'm glad you did it." When I'm long gone, I want people to remember me as being happy.

So what do I do from here? What have I learned in 32 years that's going to lead me to what's going to make me happier for the next 32? What sacrifices will I have to make, will I be willing to make, to make myself as happy as I think everyone should be? I don't know. What I do know is that starting today, I'm really going to try and figure that out as soon as I can because I don't want to spend another day not being as happy as I could be, should be. I don't want to look back and have regrets. I don't want to wonder "what if I had done that?". Thirty two years is a long time but in the grand scheme of things, very little time at all. I should still have many, many, many years ahead of me and I don't want to spend any more of them not being 99.9% happy.

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