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50 & Counting

January 19, 2013

Some years ago (around 2009) things seemed their bleakest.  The important women from my past were crowding around me, saying all the things they had promised not to say when we were together, when some were even alive. I had aches, pains, the lack of appetite, the failure to get “there,” the bleakness of this provincial town, the job (but then there is always “The Job“).  It occurred to me that if I knew when it would all end, then I could live to then, get through it all.  When I woke up, panicked at 3AM, I could just say, “oh well, just another 2 years…”  So I set a goal that if I was still here at age 50 I would just end it all, fill my pockets with rocks & step off the pier at midnight, or turn my head from the 18-wheeler on highway 101 as I stepped into traffic (the old fashioned straight razor seemed too physical, too messy; pills seemed too difficult to negotiate).

That resolve in itself seemed to cheer & free me up.  Never a gregarious type, I developed a twinkle of unconscious knowing that even the coffee girls at Starbucks sensed & I became less invisible.  Nothing got “better” but I seemed to fit, if not the bourgeois society, at least into existence in general.  Once when a co-worker was dying of terminal cancer & we were on break together, I said, “Dennis, the difference between you & the rest of us is that you pretty much know when you are going to die, & it won’t be on the highway going home from work.  The rest of us just don’t know.  I could step in front of a dump truck tomorrow on my way to work, or rot away in a nursing home at 102, I just don’t know.  You do.”  He smiled — & the next day bought my coffee at break.

But when the morning of my 50th birthday came around earlier this year I woke up with my mind erased, I had forgotten what I was supposed to do that morning.  It was, miraculously, quotidianly (if that’s a word), just another day to go to work — someone made cupcakes for break, the (married) women gave me hugs & the boss was somewhat embarrassed shaking my hand.  It wasn’t until the weekend that it occurred to me that I had missed my deadline, that I was still here.  I realized that suicide will not solve my problem, that instead I will embark on a longer, wearier & perhaps harder road of life.  That if I am ever to find peace, whatever that is, I will have to absorb more & more of the World, instead of narrowing my world & simplifying my soul.  That my “soul” is painfully expanded by life, by those that have touched me & by whom I have touched.

Perhaps there will come a point where I will “pull the trigger,” I will leave that option open — but not now, not tonight.  I am heading down to the Northwoods Restaurant for a Friday Happy Hour drink & see what cougars have come in to town from the county.


From → Ponderings

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