It doesn’t seem that long ago that I had such dreams of not only changing the world – but saving it. I was young, healthy, smart, and full of whatever it takes to tackle whatever needs fixing. I came by this naturally – via good breeding and an ambitious family. But somehow, 30 years later, I begin to realize that it didn’t quite work out as planned.
Where did I go wrong? How did this all get derailed? I was once young, virile, and typical of most young men in their twenties, indestructible.
I’ve never minded a little resistance – I usually took that to mean that I’d hit a nerve. As a faithful fan of Superman, The Lone Ranger, Batman, and of course Captain James T. Kirk, I know that any evil worth overcoming, is one that puts up a good fight. Yet despite my deep respect for Lex Luther, Mr. Freeze, and Tribbles – I had bigger dreams… to solve bigger problems.
Several times in my life, the Borg has threatened to assimilate me, but I have resisted, no matter how futile it seemed.
I have resisted assimilation my whole life. But my stamina and virility are running dry – and amazingly, I’m beginning to learn that unlike Jean Luc Picard, I am mortal and therefore destructible. I think they call this middle age – but I don’t know too many people who live to be 102! Middle age, for me, was probably about 10 or 15 years ago. I’ll let you know exactly at my funeral – but until then, your guess is as good as mine.
I now realize, I’ve been to the top of the mountain. I’ve reached the pinnacle of success. I’m now headed back down the other side. There’s still plenty of adventure in the journey ahead, but from this point forward, it’s coasting – or as some would say, it’s all downhill from here. In other words, I’m going downhill.
A New Plan
As my unrealized dreams slip through my fingers, coupled with unemployment, declining health, and very little energy left in my phasers – in which to fight the ubiquitous Borg – I find myself getting grouchy. So, I have a new plan. Instead of fighting crime and resisting the Borg, I’m going to work on my internal demons.
When I was 12 or 13, we moved to a house in Gresham. It was a relatively new subdivision and like the rest of the middle class in the 1960s and 70s, the move completed my family’s migration from the city to the suburbs. A nice yard, in a quiet neighborhood, with good schools. Life was good!
And because it was the suburbs, the streets were safe to play in – and that’s where my brother and I were constantly. If we weren’t in the backyard pool, we were in the street playing hockey, baseball, football, or some other rambunctious game that involved running, ducking, and chasing.
Unfortunately, right across the street was a middle aged couple who made it their life’s mission to protect the bark-dust that they called a front yard. We already knew that like Mrs. Kravitz, they were on constant alert, watching the neighborhood through their drapes. Nothing caused more of a stir than if our hockey puck, baseball, or football should happen to violate their perimeter. We learned quickly to keep away from their yard, or we would receive a thorough scolding.
“You kids stay out of our yard!”
I don’t want to be that man.
In the last few months, I’ve found myself being crabby about a number of things. It’s difficult to be cheerful when one is broken – and I’m broken. Misunderstood, misjudged, taunted with false accusations, unfairly ostracized, unmercifully terminated, and unemployed. This all coming on the heals of a 18 month, losing battle, standing up for “truth, justice, and the American way!”
No, it wasn’t right what happened, and I’m moving on – but I’m still broken. I continue in recovery.
In my mind, as I look over blog, Facebook, and Twitter posts, I see the wake of a grumpy man. And where did it get me? Did the discompassionates become compassionate? Did the legalists find grace? Did the behavioralists discover Truth? Did the evildoers repent? Did those who did harm to my family apologize? No.
I’m tired of being angry. I’m tired of waiting for my friends to acknowledge their friendship and love – despite my barbs. I’m tired of expecting things that aren’t happening. (Don’t get me wrong, many have done some amazing things for us – and we will always be grateful to those individuals.) But, let’s just say, I’m tired of waiting.
So, what’s the point?
The responses were strangely encouraging. A couple of people empathized (thank you Brandi and Greg) and in some uniquely, strange way, that was encouraging. I felt like I’d made a difference in their lives.
I’m tired of swimming upstream, only to die in the shallows. I’m tired of climbing mountains, just because they are there. I’m tired of resisting the Borg – take me now!
Have you ever been derailed? Stuck in a moment? How did you get out?