45

45

This again? Seriously? Didn’t we just do this?

Well, that number sure isn’t getting any smaller, now, is it?

The good news is, I’m not freaking out … you know, like I did when I turned 40. Quite the contrary, in fact. I’ve taken stock of things and I’m OK with 45.

Is my day job something I’m thrilled with? No, but I’ve reconciled myself with it. It’s a good fit for my family at this point in our lives. It’s a decent paycheck, it provides us with health insurance, it’s an easy gig, nice environment, the hours are very reasonable, I listen to iTunes all day, I’m only 20 minutes away from my house, and I can come and go pretty much as I please and work from home when I need to.

Because of this work arrangement, I have been able to remain hugely involved in my children’s lives thus far … which is when they have most needed me to be hugely involved in their lives. Yes, this has been to the detriment of my writing endeavors … but I realize now that focusing on fatherhood rather than on my writing pursuits was not an obligation I was forced into honoring; it was a decision I made … even if I didn’t realize it at the time. If it felt like an obligation rather than a choice, it’s only because I can’t imagine not prioritizing the things I chose to prioritize.

My father, by his own admission, wishes he spent more time with me and my siblings when we were youngsters. I will never know what that regret feels like, and my children will have a childhood filled with memories of their father being a constant presence in their lives.

So I’m OK with 45.

bday-dinner

My phenomenally awesome birthday dinner (at my favorite new restaurant, Ardé Osteria, in case you’re wondering). I ate until it hurt. A lot.

What I’m not OK with, however, is the thought of hitting 50 and looking around to find that everything in my life is the same as it was when I turned 45. If it is, then that also will be due to the choices I make between now and then.

There have been moments — long spans of time, actually — during the past five years when I’ve felt like my dream of a writing career is a silly fantasy that I need to let go of. Feeling like that has sucked. So fuck that.

The next five years are going to be about finding some balance between being a family man and being a writer. They’re going to be about making writing a regular part of my life again, and about tackling — and completing — some writing projects I’ve thus far relegated to the confines of my imagination, under the heading “Someday, Maybe.”

They’re going to be about taking some chances to find out if I can make this dream a reality … because, in the same way that I can’t imagine not having prioritized my role as a father in recent years, I also can’t imagine not making a serious attempt at carving out a writing career in the years ahead.

So “Someday, Maybe” starts now. That’s my birthday present to myself.

Happy Birthday to me.

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7 Comments

  1. heidig
    Posted January 18, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday! So glad you’re writing again. Please write a book. I’ll buy it. Promise.

  2. Posted January 18, 2015 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Very happy to see you posting again. I enjoy your humor and getting the male point of view (most of the other blogs I read are by my fellow moms–or is that an oxymoron?) Having been 45 for several months now, I agree that it’s easier to accept than 40, but does create a certain urgency about 50.
    Wendy´s most recent blog post: Well, this is embarrassing.My Profile

  3. Posted January 20, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I felt like I was actually there with you all in NYC. Your photos and narrative are captivating, motivating. I’m totally impressed with your ability to see the ordinary as magical and vice versa. Maybe there isn’t really any difference! Your writing is excellent and the witty thinking behind it—and inside it—is deep and clearly loving. What a wonderful excursion for us all, with you all, to the Big App!

    Your family is so cool. By the way, your mother-in-law sounds awesome (even if a bit locationally challenged—as in the Empire State Building’s address). Can you introduce me to her? I think we may be ‘challenged’ in similar ways.

  4. Posted January 21, 2015 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    It seems we are living in a parallel universe. I have almost given up on my blog because I am so involved in being the taxi mom for my kids and watching their events, that I don’t have the time or energy anymore. I am not complaining because my kids are amazing and I do enjoy it, but I do feel that I am losing out on the things that make me whole. Apparently I am going to miss this one day, so I have decided to embrace the crazy train because it seems less painful than getting hit by it.

  5. amy
    Posted July 1, 2015 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    I am not sure how I found your blog (maybe the Blogess) but I am happy I did. Love catching up on the old blogs. I hope you achieve your dream of a writing career. In my opinion you have a writing career, your words are read and enjoyed; they make people smile. Don’t stop dreaming and most importantly don’t stop writing!

    • Posted July 1, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Amy. You kinda made my day.

      • amy
        Posted July 3, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Thanks Jon! I am a long time Stern fan myself, I actually went to the mock funeral he had for Mark and Brian when he became number one in LA. Holy cow, that was a long time ago! It would have been amazing to go the the show in New York. Keep sharing your stories, people like me are waiting.

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