Half a Life

This is a blog that I wrote in early November, but never posted. I’ve found that once you get out of the habit of writing, it is hard to get started again. I’m trying for a fresh start.

It is a Thursday morning, and I’m riding in a carpool up I-5 a few minutes before 7 am. I’ve been working at my new job in Factoria for six weeks or so, now … I seem to be settling in to a routine. To avoid the fierce traffic, I’ve been driving in early (leaving the house a few minutes after 5), but now that I’m carpooling three days a week, I can sleep in like a ‘normal’ person (for some very weird values of ‘normal’). [Note: Since I wrote this, I have abandoned that carpool and joined another more reliable one that gets to my place of work at 6:00 am. Sadly, this means no sleeping in for me ... back to the 4:40 am wakeup. ]

I like my new job, and I very much like the pay, but the location leaves something to be desired. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I miss riding the train quite a bit. Still, this carpool may be the answer … I pay less than what the train would cost me in gas fees and ride to work in comparative comfort and reasonable time.

Contract employment (like this new position) doesn’t scare me too terribly much … every job since I graduated from college has been initially a contract position except for my first job at Olin. Also, the only job I’ve ever lost was a full-time employment position at AT&T Wireless … so I have no illusions about the stability of full-time employment. Still, there is some fear about what will happen at the end of the contract … will I be asked to stay on, or will I be looking for another job in a volatile market?

Apart from starting this new job, a couple of other things have happened lately, as well. I turned 40, and Joshua turned 12. Strange to reach such a lofty age when I still think of myself as a ‘young’ man. I guess the words change their meanings to suit reality, rather than the other way around … I just never really thought that 40 equaled ‘young’ before. Going out on a limb, here, but I suspect that 50 will seem more like ‘reaching my prime’ than I ever imagined.

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It took nephew Timothy quite a while to light my two-score candles.

Joshua continues to grow in grace and stature … what a fine young man he is! Kathy and I decided that, now he is 12, he may set his own bedtime. This is, of course, on a probational basis … if he can’t handle it, we’ll probably revoke that privilege … still, I want to start handing responsibility over to him as we move into the ‘coaching’ phase of parenting. Rachel was green with envy … a good reminder that in a large family, nothing occurs in a vacuum. (I’m sure there is a joke I could make about large families and the need for a vacuum, but it doesn’t come to me at the moment.)

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Some people have breakfast in bed, while others (who sleep in a loft) have it on a couch. We move with the times.

I really like being part of a carpool … we zip along in the carpool lane while the peasantry sits fuming at a standstill … for some reason, carpooling isn’t very popular in Seattle, and the vast majority of cars cannot meet even the low HOV-2 (High Occupancy Vehicle — 2 persons) bar. Of course, it doesn’t take much to stop our lane, and then we sit in companionable misery, sharing the lot of the common man.

My folks scheduled a work-party at The Refuge on my birthday … call it a none-too-subtle hint if you will. While I usually evade those work days, this time I actually put in several hours of physical labor, which enhanced, rather than diminished, the enjoyment of my birthday. We gathered as an extended family the night before; this was possibly the largest number of family members I have ever had attend my birthday celebration. Mom and Dad were there, and Mark and Liz and their three children, and then Kathy and my horde. All we needed was Posie & Greg and their rascals to complete the event. It was very festive; Mom made a Black Forest cake that was big enough to hold all 40 candles and we feasted and partied into the evening.

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It is hard to believe that the Main Lodge is finally being built!

Several people have asked me, “Do you feel any different, now that you’re 40?” Truth be told, not really. I’ve been feeling rather introspective for the past year or so; this birthday has loomed large enough that it didn’t sneak up on me. But it does make you think … certainly by any reasonable measurement, half my life is over, possibly much more than half my life.

It makes you wonder what I’ll do with the time I have left, doesn’t it? I must admit, I’m sitting on the edge of my seat, myself. Strange to live a life and feel so much like a passenger.

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