It’s about that time of year again. The time that I round out another complete trip around the sun and reflect on the accumulating trips that came before.
Eleven years old. I was working my first full time job, and my money was helping pay rent. I lived too far away from town to be able to hang out with friends. My boss decided I couldn’t take the day off for my birthday. Well, truthfully, I realize my parents were in on this plan of putting me to work, so it may have well been their decision. Either way, it really fucked my head that I should have to work on my birthday. I mean, not that I feel a day off on your birthday is mandatory. I just feel like an underage worker should be granted a federal holiday off work.
My next thought is that I’ve put in 20-some odd years of working full time, when the hell do I get to retire?
…I really try not to think of my 21st birthday. I met baby’s mamma in Sydney. I made it epic, because that was how I rolled back then… sigh
I worked my last job a full year. The last few months were the worst. I told my CEO I needed a break, but being the only one that knows what the hell is going on pigeon-holes you into being omnipresent. There is no break for the man in charge. For my birthday, I went to a place that no number of G’s of wireless service can reach. I listened to my girlfriend and kids bicker most of the time. I nursed a pretty gnarly hangover of the grade I haven’t suffered since the Corps. The highlight and savior of my trip being a couple six packs sitting in the cold creek.
A few years ago, my very good friend treated me to a birthday extravaganza. It started with an evening of bar hopping. Not to a point of oblivion, though. Just good and loose. That was followed up by a day at the waterfront blues festival with my son. He couldn’t stop at that, though. The following day, we hung out at the beach. The best part of that experience was simply not having to drive.
I have been in a funk for a while now, and today was certainly not an exception. I spent the majority of the weekend trying not to think about how broke I am. How much my family bickers. How much I just want to be the hell alone for a day. I wanted to plan a day to go see my best buddy in Yachats. I wanted to get in touch with my old self, to remember who I used to be. I miss my old self.
Anyway, considering the time frame and all, I opted for a little hike. I think I might have mentioned my issue with underestimating the challenge of distance when I’m with other people in a previous blog. The last time I hiked Multnomah Falls, I was with my girl and our kids. It rained like a fire hose on us and we gave up at switchback number 2. The time before that, my son was 1 1/2 years old. I hiked a solid 8 mile loop, which included more than 5 waterfalls. All together, today we finally made it to the top of Multnomah. I still wish I could have done the long loop around. So, coming into another year on this earth, I can’t help but ponder my life now. Maybe I haven’t changed so much, or maybe I’m just resisting that change. Maybe there’s more to my life now, and I simply need to learn to apply that strength, resilience, and stamina to a new path.
That same good friend that treated me on my birthday asked me yesterday if I was happy. I was stumped for a response. Happy? Like I have something exciting and new to report? I have to force myself to say yes. I’m content. Mostly because I can’t just be miserable about my situation forever. I am working on defining my issues and struggles. I know I have to work on myself and that my family can only be as successful as I lead them to be. I have chosen this life for myself, and given the hell I’ve been through in the past, I can’t say it’s not fair or that I have no control.
I’m just in a funk because life isn’t fully what I expect it to be. I’m not the original me, but my life is not what it originally was. Some of the things that I had successfully escaped from my youth are creeping back into my life. I feel like my parents were in my shoes once, and I don’t fully understand what caused their fallout to avoid my own. I just want the ass kicking, name taking, me back. I want the life back where a ten mile hike was a chill afternoon.
I try to remember why I was just slightly less than content back then so I can appreciate what I have now. Family. A loving family. A bickering, whining, fussing, booger picking, hanging on my arm, then cuddling up in my lap, loving family. I don’t know what to do with my family, but I am grateful that on my birthday, I have one.
Pp: And German Chocolate Cake!