Next Rest Stop 46 Miles
Another birthday approaching, number 44 if you're counting (and next Monday if you're the card sending or libation buying sort). It's certainly not one of those "milestone" celebrations, like 18 or 21 or 30 or even 50, but still, with each click over of the natal odometer I keep coming round to the inevitable conclusion that -- statistically-speaking -- I've got more miles of blacktop behind me than ahead.
It's not something I'm prone to be maudlin about; I come from a rather long-lived family (three of four grandparents still alive-and-kicking in their early 80's to mid 90's), and despite the history of congenital heart problems that run in my family, I'm probably in a lot better shape at this age than was my dad or grandfather, both of whom are thankfully still with us. So, it's not completely out of the quesiton that all things considered, I've realistically got another 45 - 50 years of mileage in me before some major organ craps out beyond repair.
Some days though it's hard to rid myself of the nagging suspicion that somewhere I took a turn that sent me off in a direction I never thought I'd go, and that suddenly I'm sitting here by the side of the road staring at some Rand-McNalley Atlas that clearly indicates I'm nowhere near where I thought I'd be by now.
I guess it's just that I always imagined my life would be somewhat more conventional than it's turned out, one accompanied by all the trappings of what passes for "normalicy": marriage, kids, mortgages, etc., etc. So, when I look around and realize how many aspects of my life are decidedly not of the norm, I have to admit I feel a bit ambivalent. On the one hand, I'm still plugging away at a vocation that, despite a recent (hopefully temporary) malaise, nevertheless seems to maintain some forward momentum. I've got a passle of good friends, although not perhaps as many truly close ones as I'd like, but an otherwise great group of people. I seem to have dug out some small niche for myself in my chosen community. I have a decent job that pays well, even if it's frequently not as intellectually challenging as I'd prefer, and I've lived a rather unconventional lifestyle over the years, that while perhaps not as on-the-edge as some, certainly falls outside of what most people experience. But, my romantic attachments over the years haven't been terribly successful (with one notable exception), and there are times when I think I really should have been able to make something more of myself; that I haven't always lived up to my full potential.
Still, it seems like there's an awful lot yet ahead of me, that my life isn't anywhere near the point of beginning some slide into that long dark goodnight. Maybe it's having played people older than myself for so long in my acting career, but getting older doesn't really scare me; the only real disturbance about the process is that there aren't all that many people I know close enough to my own age with whom to share the experience. How do you get 20 or 30-somethings to relate to the onset of late middle-age and impending geriatry? Not that I'm complaining about hanging out with 20 and 30 year-olds mind you, if nothing else it causes me to forget at times that I'm not 35 anymore myself.
What's the old saw, "You're only as young as you feel"? Well, for one day I think I'll be like those kids in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", when they stick the Ferrari up on blocks and run it in reverse trying to get the odometer to wind itself back to where they started. I may pay for it on Tuesday, but that's somewhere up ahead in the road, isn't it?
And, I've still got the map.
on 1:06 PM