While I wait for the Kid who is in her Saturday art class, I’m sitting in a McCafe drinking a $1 coffee an mooching free wifi to kill some time and to write some posts. I’m using a Bluetooth keyboard tethered to my iPhone which is plugged into a portable USB battery pack all while I track the time on my GPS enabled smart watch and listen to music on headphones so small I forgot I was wearing them. It struck me as worth writing here that the largest thing on my little bistro table is my coffee cup. I know we’re all all used to how small and clever things are these days, but every once in a while it still catches me off guard.
I’m not oblivious to the fact that my audience is minuscule.
I’ve been writing and posting content here for nearly seventeen years, and in that time I’ve covered more topics than I can remember. This blog, in other words, has been a mishmash of randomly documenting with no central topic, save one: the author.
Having a small audience in inconsequential. Sure, there are outlying posts, a handful of things that I’ve written with just enough search engine optimized keywords peppered throughout that one of my eight thousand pages of information gets a slightly higher ranking and the resulting traffic blows out of the water any other relative stat on this page.
Having a small audience is not anywhere on the list of things that are going to prevent me from randomly documenting here today, tomorrow or in the future. In fact, having a small audience allows me a great deal of flexibility in deciding what I do want to write about today, tomorrow and in the future.
For example, if I decided I want to spend my lunch hours wandering around downtown taking random video footage on my new camera, uploading that to my Youtube channel, and then posting the results here whilst I wax meta and poetic on the nature of running a blog… well, I can do just that.
Or, if I want to keep on walking past the train station after work, take the long way home by walking over the river rather than riding over it, and as I go I happen to wander over the new bridge… and happen to capture a couple minutes of nice footage of the sun setting on that bridge… and I happen to post that footage to Youtube for everyone to see… well, I can do that too.
Every once in a while I get meta here, actually. In the never-ending search for an enduring idea, I dabble online with this concept of trying to own something of value on the web, even if that something is analogous to little more than a tent pitched in a remote hinterland compared to the big-city lights of all those other websites that are likely listed in the recent history of your browser even as you read this.
This past summer I climbed up the pass of a remote Canadian mountain, hiked to the small tent-pitching campsite twenty-five kilometers from the nearest flush toilet, hiked with all our food and supplied on my back, and… I was not alone.
That kind of space didn’t have a big audience either, but it was cherished so much more because of it. I may not be a mighty forest ranger camped up and atop the pine-specked foot of an ancient glacier, but me and my kind, posting random glimpses here and safeguarding a remote corner of the web for whoever happens to wander by, we have a kind of kinship with those folks.
So… enjoy my randomness, my solitude, my simplicity. And remember to pack out your trash when you leave.
Maybe, in the waning days leading towards yet another reminder of my own steady fight against mortality I’m just getting old and losing my patience for this type of thing, but I find my effort here to be one of mixed satisfaction. So much so has this been the case, that I’ve found myself writing less and less, posting fewer images, documenting with a sporadic inclination approaching infrequency, and shrugging off the gaps in between.
I’ve been writing this blog for sixteen and a half years, and in that time it has changed over and over and over again, nudged, skewed, adjusted, retweaked, but only rarely has it changed significantly.
This might be one of those times.
Yet, it’s taken me a lot of will and power and cringing, nose-holding-effort to lean towards a new kind of simplicity herein.
Partially, it’s an abstraction of a larger glut of overloaded senses, the often less-than-nuanced effort of a billion attention-seeking residents of this here internet to distract all of us from (at best) something more productive or (at worst) something real. I feel it. I hate it. I claw it from my mind, and feel in clenching around my heart.
In an effort to recapture whatever it was that has been lost… drained… sapped… vampirically extracted from my soul in whatever span of time it has been since sanity last wandered these electric corridors, I held my nose, mashed will and power, cringed fully aware, and decided to push this site, whatever it is, whatever is means to no-one-really but me, into this odd current era of digital rebellion.
If the internet were a person, it would be a rebellious teenager. Not so cute anymore, is she? Hardly our innocent little angel. Angry. Full of angst and misdirected rage. An agent whose actions have real and measurable consequences. All too dangerous. All too flailing against rational control.
When I started this site it was little more than an innocent channel of communication, a journal from a distant me living in a strange town to a far-away you back closer to home. Words. A diary. A tale of a young guy lost in a big city.
That effort sputtered with a real-life move, sputtered into an era of complex moral exploration and philosophical wanders through an age of confusing change, a space for musing on vague ideas in a safe space. For a while I wrote just to see the words on the page and because when I should have likely walked away, instead I clung on and wrote, and wrote, and wrote some more.
Then, with a newfound clarity and locked in the carefree innocence of a now-lost age, I mutated my writing into a kind of personal online magazine, a showcase of my creative work and a portal through which my hobbies would find anonymous validation. Pictures. Sounds. Revelations of hope and idealism. Data mashed against the perpetual deluge of pure experience.
Now? I’ve been struggling to find the same joy in the never-sought faux fame of perpetual posting. Now I think it is a kind of fourth iteration yearning to clamber from the pause in my interest and effort of late. I’m not perfectly clear on what that will be, where it will lead, but the direction is one of something less trivial, more focused, yet built upon a reduction of everything that came before. Less about what. More about why. A seeking of something more substantial in a form that might be more raw, less frill, and rooted in whatever bits of honesty I can muster.
Stay tuned for a simplification.
I understand that you probably get a little bit worried when I don’t post here for a while. But as the tens of you who read this blog have probably already surmised, it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Usually that would mean plenty of fodder for posting in this space — race reports, travel photos, and hobby updates — but alas, I’ve been finding that the few spare moments I’ve had have been almost exclusively consumed with other little projects. Three weeks ago I dropped a couple random web comics into this feed and disappeared… but in the meantime I’ve run two major races, planted my garden, came into possession of a pretty slick new running watch, had a minor (but measurable) breakthrough in my violin studies, and launched a whole new side project involving those same web comics, which now has it’s own blog, instagram account, and twitter feed all of which have already started generating more traffic in a few weeks than this sixteen year old blog. I owe you an update, but let me get my feet under me first.
In the Ninth Edition of my “Week of Lists” I tackle the high level topic: Offline versus Online Parenting, exploring the collision of ideas parents face when seeking to participate and bridge gaps between themselves and other parents… while avoiding ruining their kids lives by oversharing or mild exploitation. I’ve been dad-blogging for ten years in various forms, so I’ve thought about many of the pros and cons, like…
3 vs 3 Cooking Metaphors that will Scare (or Inspire) You to Blog More
Part of me wishes I’d done something in my career with cooking or meal preparation. We would have cancelled our cable package by now if it wasn’t for the Food Network. One of my most used pieces of software is a recipe database (that I wrote.) And if anyone reads this blog with any consistency in the last couple years one will have definitely noticed a theme emerging around the idea of meal prep at home, and making better and healthier meals.
In other words, even though I’m not a chef I probably think way too much about cooking.
Though one can’t necessarily draw a clean, obvious connection between the notion of Daddy Blogging and cooking, there are some definite overlaps between the worlds of raising a kid or five, and that other thing… constructing family meals.
And if there isn’t, then there just could be a lot of wisdom to be found in one that can glean insight upon the other, wisdom that will either inspire one to cook more (or to blog more) or scare any cook (or blogger) into hanging up their tools. Such as….
Scare #1: Half-baked Ideas Are Often of Less Value Than No Ideas At All
I think among the worst things I have ever cooked (then accidentally attempted to consume) was a failed cheese and tomato omelette. The cheese clumped up. The tomato was overripe and sludged all over the pan. And my skillet wasn’t nearly hot enough so the outside of the omelette was overcooked and rubbery and the inside was still a bit raw. Fortunately I was only making myself lunch and not cooking for the family or visitors. Needless to say, I think it went into the trash and I made a grilled cheese sandwich instead.
The internet is full of runny cheese and tomato omelettes. These are posts filled with ideas that are full of inconsistencies, undercooked facts, and overripe ideas from which no one will get any added value. Sometimes this is rushed authoring. Sometimes it is laziness. Often it is due to lack of skill. I have a few of these runny omelette articles floating around on this very website, and I am a little sheepish to admit that they emerged out of the notion of either misunderstanding a topic, or pushing myself to reach an artificial deadline or word count.
Sadly, when I look at the stats, the good posts and the bad posts are virtually indistinguishable. As many people read the runny omelettes as read the ones that have been more expertly cooked. Do they add value to the web or this site? Probably not. And they probably decrease its reputation in the long run.
Inspire #1: Sampling the Food As You Cook Makes You a Better Chef
That said, my runny omelettes are often just me cooking lunch for myself. Or, if one is still pondering the metaphor aspect: those posts are frequently me just working stuff out in my own head. We can debate if doing this on a live site (hot pan) is smart, but doing real work, blogging real topics, writing against real issues, cooking real eggs over real fire and tasting, reading, rereading, and adjusting all along the way is going to ultimately lead to improving my ability to deliver better food (and posts.)
Scare #2: Emotions are Like Ingredients and Mixing them Wrong can Destroy a Dish
When I was in middle school I got saddled with taking Home Economics as my elective. Shop was full. Thirty years later I’m more comfortable around a cast iron skillet and a chef’s knife than a band saw. And thirty years later the funniest anecdote of my pre-teen cooking experience stands out as the time my cooking partner, another befuddled boy in my class, swapped the sugar and salt in some cookies we were making. A pinch of sugar and a cup of salt went into the batter. Not only were they not cookies, but they were not anything resembling edible, even for a twelve year old.
I’ve written a bunch on this blog about the current era of outrage culture. This post is probably guilty of a bit of clickbaiting. And the whole point of this series is to ponder the quantity of parental oversharing in modern social media. Those are just a few of the flourishes to a good, well-written, well-researched blog post. There are a lot of ingredients, and the salt and the sugar can easily get swapped if one doesn’t know their way around a keyboard.
Inspire #2: Great Dishes are Often Born of Fortunate Accidents
That said, take a moment to recall the history of fudge. As the lore would have it, fudge was a fortunate accident emerging from a failed batch of caramels.
I’m not really saying that casually tossing ingredients together is going to invent something as awesome as fudge, but just as not every recipe is a perfectly planned concoction, not everything a blogger writes is going to be what they set out to put into words… and that might turn out great.
Scare #3: There Can Be Too Many Cooks in a Kitchen
I used to write a lot more about a topic called “rational parenting.” It’s a bit abstract, but it really came down being exposed to a perfect storm of kookie, scientifically untested, potentially harmful advice that emerged when the whole “dad thing” suddenly became a prominent part of my identity, refuting notions from anti-vaccination to Baby Einstein product marketing.
I ultimately stopped writing on that topic, not because I stopped believing that it was important, but because there were a lot of much better chefs in that kitchen. Chefs with skills. Chefs with access to and ability with tools that I had never even heard of. Chefs who were cooking every single day, cooking well, and had access to many more hungry mouths than I.
I realized that despite my best intentions, my offerings were limited by my time and access to ingredients. I was cooking at the edge of a prep table on a hot plate, and my drivel was just cluttering up the gala buffet table. It wasn’t inedible or dangerous or flawed: it just could never hope to measure up. So I stepped out of that kitchen and focused on just cooking more at home.
Yes, both metaphorically and literally.
Inspire #3: If You Only Ever Eat Another Cook’s Food, You’ll Likely Never Truly Understand How Food Works
That said, I still stand by my belief that the only thing that will ever make anyone truly understand or appreciate something like — art, sport, music, science, travel, journalism, plumbing, or whatever, even something like — cooking or blogging, is to try it for themselves. Forever being a spectator or a watcher or a reader or just an audience never did anyone any good. Participation whether it be cooking a few eggs and cheese or filling pages with ideas is a key to something resembling enlightenment, I’m sure.
Blog on… or not. Chicken?
It bugs me that I can’t seem to muster up the inspiration to write much here lately. Irks me. Crawls under my skin and makes me wake up at night feeling like I’m missing something.
I’ve always been a guy who documents. That’s what this is. It’s just a record of stuff I did or thought or saw or whatever. Stuff. Words. Recollections and collections of records.
Sure. I’ve strayed into raw opinion on occasion and veered into the muddy waters of trying to find a topic with more gravity than the quasi-narcissism inherent in what is essentially an online journal, but always it comes back to something much more base.
I stumble around in the dark waters of the net these days and everything seems to have so much weight. Politics. Outrage. Failing international diplomacy. Cesspools of unbalanced economics. Culture wars. The clash of science and ideology.
And then here I am writing about video games and running through the snow.
Part of me –the part that looks at the view counts of what I write, often in the single digits– wonders if the age of the personal blog is finally smashing up against the brick wall of progress. Part of me –the part that hates the consumption of the net by divisive factions powered by billion dollar advertising contracts– wonders if I’m part of some lost, old-web, anarchist front, like that guy embedded deep in the jungle long after the war has ended still holding his post.
Writing. Posting. Holding my ground with no ulterior motive, not to sell you something, nor brand myself, nor trick you into a pyramid scheme to sell you caffeine-infused apple sauce to boost your performance potential to infinity.
So it bugs me.
It bugs me that I can’t seem to muster up the inspiration to write much more than I have here lately. It bugs me that I’m not better at peppering the net with stories that don’t doomsay the end the world, or prognosticate on the collapse of civilization. It bugs me that I can’t find a muse strong enough to tell happier stories, stories of simple things like of the millions of people who are still yet to be consumed by the tweetstorms and facebook fakery and are sill just living ordinary full lives… kinda like I want to be. Like I try to be.
I need to write more of that.
I think I do, at least. I think I need to figure out how to still do that and not hit that brick wall or be drawn out of my jungle perch by some curious internet anthropologist.
I need to keep writing.
Even if only eight people read it.
There used to be one anchor of certainty in my blogging life: I could always write about being a dad.
If all else failed, if the well of creativity ever seemed to run a little dry, if the rest of my boring life seemed just a little more boring than average and could not push my inspiration into a state of wordsmithery worth penning yet another meandering bit of blog-drivel for your reluctant enjoyment… then there was always writing about fatherhood.
The introspective father.
The posts of an anti-befuddled dad ruminating on the unexpected pains and pleasures of parenthood.
It was well-read. It made sense. It was simple.
Other parents like to read that stuff. Other parents want to know that for every kid out there there’s some parent trying to raise them in a way that makes sense to them: a billion kids and a billion parenting styles, a billion different qualities, a billion mistakes, and a billion wins so glorious that they would fill as many pages of the most uplifting book you’ll never read.
I was just one guy, writing my piece of that unpenned book.
It was well-read. It made sense. But then it stopped being simple.
I forget when exactly that fuzzy transition happened, but there was a moment of muddled disclarity when writing about parenting stopped being about that “gee whiz, kid’s say the strangest things” type blogging. Suddenly discipline wasn’t time-outs or cookie-withholding. Suddenly parenting was pop-pre-teen-pyschology, dealing with motivation and school work frustrations, minor episodes of bullying, and generally attempting an understanding of the complex inner-emotions of a young-but-independent human being.
It was well-read. But then it stopped making sense.
Privacy came into play, of course.
After all, was I blogging for her or just writing this stuff down for myself. Was I writing this stuff down to be read for any reason other than… other than what? I wasn’t making money doing this (this blog has no revenue!) I wasn’t scoring a book deal or making any contribution to any greater purpose. I was just recording our stories. Valuable to us, yes. But, there are other ways of doing that besides on a public website.
I’ve always believed in the openness of information. I tend to think there has always been more going on with this internet fad than online poker and angry twitter rants and sharing lolcat memes on facebook. Or, at least I wanted there to be. Insightful commentary. The ability for anyone and everyone to spill introspective content into the vacuum of the web and spatter it with something that was more than clickbait advertising and hate-filled politics.
So I wrote about what I could to contribute to that vision: And one of those things was what it was like being a twenty-first century father living in the suburbia of a mid-sized Canadian city. Write what you know, after all.
But the internet is filled with people, and some –maybe many– of those people could, or would take advantage of that openness, of that naive optimism for a world of shared transparency. And I was betting against that, but not just with my own wrinkled up life. And I couldn’t make sense of that.
But then people stopped reading.
If I was depending on this blog to pay my bills, the last year would have seen me bankrupt.
There is no field of dreams when it comes to blogging: if you build it does not mean people will necessarily come. I stopped promoting. I stopped pushing this out. And the hook, it seems, has always been the parenting anecdotes. No one cares about Brad the video gamer, or Brad the plodding runner. If page views were my pulse, I’d have been pronounced DOA.
I don’t care. Ultimately, this is just a vanity bucket of nothing more than me writing for the sake of a simple fact: the fact that I have an itch, an itch to write and create that needs an outlet, and this serves that itch. Nothing more. Nothing less. And if people find it useful, interesting, helpful, insightful, or whatever… all the better.
So I pretty much stopped writing.
Oh, not completely, of course. I just reduced my sharing.
My loyal readers probably noticed that when I write about fatherhood it tends to be more about family activities than anything. Allusions to fatherhood are just that: alluded wisps of feelings about the experience. Nothing is said that unravels a private frustration. Nothing is written that unmasks a pre-teen dilemma. Nothing is noted that shines a spotlight on the wavering complexities of growing up with me as her dad.
There are slips. There are moments of maybe-too-openness. But there is no more blogging strategy about my parenting progresses. There is no more easy fallback on the topic of my many years of content here: no more just writing about fatherhood when I had nothing else to say.
And some days, like today, I’m still not sure how I feel about that seemingly simple little parenting bloggers dilemma.
I know a few people who read my blog started reading it — continue reading it — because at one point I wrote a lot about running. That hasn’t exactly been the case lately, I know, and I really do have a few reasons for that, some good, some not as good.
A Good Reason: I’m on a bit of a winter running break
I’m not an Olympic athlete. I’m just a guy who runs. I’m just a dad with some free time that I devote to a sport that I love. And occasionally — I think I’ve even written about it — a guy just needs a break. I mean, even after a summer of marathon training, I’ve still been running. Just barely tho: trotting around the neighbourhoods. I’ve been plodding through the snowy trails when the weather cooperates, but I wouldn’t exactly call it training. One or two runs a week. Some vague goals. Pretty much as recreational as one can get without completely putting the legs in an elevated and reclined position.
A Bad Reason: I should be writing about my break, but I’m not
As much as I need a break from the running, I probably needed a break from the writing about running, but breaks seem to be important too, and getting my mind around that, justifying it, arguing with words in this space in favour of the time-off, running-sabbatical, x-training-vacay could have been more of a priority. You can’t just write the doubleplus good stuff.
A Good Reason: I’m not selling anything
I could be completely wrong, but I’ve always kinda pictured my writing as being a bit more genuine than some — many — other running blogs out there. I mean, I don’t make money off this website. Really. Nothing. There’s no ads. I’m not part of some multi-level vitamin supplement sales scheme. I’m not peddling a service or selling you my advice. I’m just documenting my experience. So, in a way it feels like that takes me off the hook because this isn’t a job… it’s just a thing I do.
A Bad Reason: I should be better at competing with the MLMs
That said, if I’m going to put in the effort I still like an audience and it’s getting harder and harder to compete against all the pro-bloggers out there who are hard-core, epic-running machines with five gajillion devoted followers and by the way have you tried this eight-dollar-per-can organic-vita-juice-shake-supplement grown in the jungles of Greenland that they reaaaaaaaaally love, and you should try, and “please click this link to order” ‘cuz you’re really helping them support the dream. Because even if that makes me a liberated media socialist wingnut, not everything you read should have a catch. I still believe there should just be independent places, free of “please pay me now” buzzing in your face-ness, that aren’t always trying to sell you something: I’m not. I don’t. I won’t. Well, other than an idea about a sport I love. Hopefully I never need to change that.
A Good Reason: I’m burnt out
Life. Work. Politics. I’ve been looking for a center of balance and every time I sit down at a keyboard to type something out, I enter this fray of social insanity that I’m struggling (oh-so-unsuccessfully) to ignore, and it creeps into everything I say or do or think because it’s a fundamentally outrageous part of life that, like a good long run, sometimes you feel great, sometimes you’re just plodding along, sometimes you’re cruising with the wind at your back, and sometimes you’re climbing a hill with a leg cramp. That last one is how I feel right now.
A Bad Reason: Running is my center
Or it should be. I need to remember that more.
If you don’t see me posting on the socials for a while, don’t be too alarmed. We’ve had a falling out, social media and I. I don’t want to be one of those guys who stomps his feet, picks up the ball and storms off saying that I don’t want to play anymore. (I guess one can’t help appearing that way.) But as I slouch into my 40s I get that feeling like Facebook and Twitter and all their ilk are like great lumbering beasts sharting out great hypnotizing clouds of faux news and belching giant isolating thought bubbles and that every time I visit, every time I post, every interaction I have with one of those services I’m feeding that damn beast, shoving bits of undeserved food into their maws while the world suffers through misinformation and sinks deeper into that brave new world, a soma-coma of rot, of feelings overtaking truths, perceptions overpowering evidence. It’s left me feeling sad and overwhelmed, like trying to hold back a tsunami with a little plastic pail on the beach. So, my little vacations over and lacking anything more interesting to share with you there for a while, instead I’m going to focus on a social media thought machine I can control: this blog. I’ll lurk on the other sites, a little, but don’t expect much else more me for a while.
It’s been almost exactly six months since I started the whole “Head over Feets” blog effort and –despite the wonderful, if modest, support from you all, and thank each of you for that– I’ve decided over the last few days that I need to pull the plug. At least for now. Maybe permanently, but just for now to just step back, unplug, unpublish, and stop posting anywhere else but on this blog-proper. It’s not about my readers & followers. It’s not about social media sharing clashing with brash social marketing. It’s not about the sport or the fitness or the goals or the purpose of why I started it in the first place. What it comes down to, complexly and with very blurry edges actually, is that I’m fighting with some deep and irreconcilable frustrations stemming out of this place that I call home, these trails that I run, and the simple notion that what I often write and share blossoms from a deep, foundational love of writing about those things. But then I was out for a walk in my park this afternoon. And despite my rational brain, despite knowing that it’s just a blurry problem with two sides, just thinking about these things and knowing that they represent something so much bigger than grass or asphalt or trees, walking my dog in the place that was supposed to be my happy-place, it made me literally vibrate with rage. Exasperation. A mania that I could feel pressing on the inside of my skull. And doing what I do means it’s difficult to openly write how I really feel– but then also I can’t lie to you and pretend I don’t feel it. When I do write here, I write here to be additive to the culture of a place or an idea. But I can’t do that when I feel the exact opposite of love for this place. I can’t knowingly add to something I’m not sure I believe in anymore. So, until I work that out, until I find a way to contribute and still sleep at night, well… I guess I’ll see you on the trails.
So, yeah. Fifteen years ago today I sat down in front of a computer much clunkier and much less fancy than the one I’m writing this on to write some other words you probably haven’t read or should read or don’t care if you ever read now. Fifteen years ago I used my cheap-ass dial-up internet to upload a few paragraphs of text formatted into crude HTML blocks on a plain, boring page coded and connected and delivered via an FTP connection. Fifteen years ago I was sitting on the floor of a bachelor pad apartment, lost in Vancouver, pondering a soon-to-start new job and doing so using this wacky new trend called blogging. Fifteen years ago today the first dribs and drabs of this blog were conceived and born and published and maybe even read. Fifteen years. Yup. That’s all.
Age is mostly just some arbitrary — yet bizarrely consequential — thing.
We count our trips around the sun, bunch those trips into groups based on nothing much more grounded than the number of fingers we humans just happened to have evolved on our hands, and then we use those bunches to, with the significance of our passage through what isn’t really much more than our insignificant flickers of conscious life, mark a grand philosophical inquiry, all of it as we search for a deeper meaning to these same happenstance trips around the sun.
As I join the ranks of those who temporarily feel the crush of time, passing years and decades, all of it as I prepare to pass yet another age-based milestone in a few short months, I reflect: I’ve gone digging through the pages of this vast information chasm for something that might ground that passage for me. Advice. Insight. Hope. Fears. Meaning. Rules or fragments of a how-to manual for something that was supposed to have made sense by now.
There isn’t much.
I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I’m crumbling under the weight of this inquiry. I’m not. I’m just speeding down a metaphorical highway and noting that the odometer of my life is about to roll over to some new number and, well, that it might be time to pull over to the side of the road for a few minutes and do a celebratory dance around the car.
Check the gas gauge.
Wave at a few other passing vehicles.
Kick the tires.
Keep on driving… right?
In two hundred and thirty days I’m turning 40. If you are among those who have already passed that milestone, you are likely quietly chuckling at your computer monitor as you read this. Forty is not a big deal, you think. Wait until fifty! Sixty! Ninety-nine, sonny! But if you are among those of my closer contemporaries, speeding right along with me towards this signpost, you get it.
You don’t want to make a big deal. You don’t want a big deal made. But, you want to know that as the curtain rises on the (symbolic if not actual) second half of your life, that the plot has been building to a coherent story.
Heather is to blame for this post. We were waiting to start our run last night and (in a conversation which I can’t remember the start or the end of) she asked me (for reasons I can’t quite recall) if I was coming up on 40 yet — because it was around 40ish when “you just stop caring how others think of you” … at least too much. There’s not really time for the judgement of someone who hasn’t lived your life all the way through and up until this moment: and no one else is actually paying that close attention anyhow.
I figured maybe I was about to enter some cranky-old-guy stage of life, spouting off about kids-these-days (which I literally did not two hours ago *gasp*) or something, and then I realized, y’know, I think I am actually worried about that. I haven’t been writing here as much because somewhere in my brain I’ve been filtering more, wedging my opinions and ideas up against the notion that society doesn’t really care what some almost 40ish guy has to say about the universe. Thinking (probably completely wrongly) that my best creative years are dragging behind me in a mess of cluttered choices and vague experience.
The engine light seemed to blinking a vague sort of warning, but maybe it was just telling me to fasten my seat belt.
And that was the problem with my quest to find out what-the-hell-is-up-with-40? on the internet. We nearly-40-year-olds are all at the cusp of careless over-caution & self-induced irrelevance: filtering, fretting, and second-guessing the flickering flames our our existence. As if anyone actually cares or is paying attention anyhow: but only a handful of people bother to scribble an “i wuz here” in the dusty wood of that mile marker of life.
So, as out of step with me as you almost certainly are, eventually most of us, the lucky ones at least, have already or will someday slide past that marker, roll over the old odometer of life (and I’m still assuming I will too) — but for me: I’m going to be making a few notes on my visit. Stay tuned.
Two hundred and thirty days. Blink and you miss it.