That’s how I feel about turning 35. I’m going to be 100, so at 33 or even 34 I could say I’m just on the cusp of the second third of my life; but I’m not going to be 105, so there’s no way I’m still in Act 1 anymore. This is the last birthday that matters, ascending-wise (I can be president now): this is the last birthday where our society says that I’m getting more able. As you get to Act 3, you start to get birthdays where society says you’re less able. (retirement, social security)
I feel wiser now than 30 or 25, and that’s cool. I credit this to … mostly, therapeutic work and marriage?
- Therapeutic work: I guess I have a spiritual life now? One that I’ve actually felt. I blundered around mediation circles for a while and I thought that was spirituality, but I think without feeling it for myself it was just another form of blind faith, like the lite Christianity that I ran away from. I’m also in really great physical shape, and that rules (in both “proud” and “lucky” ways).
- Marriage: it’s so intense. Everything is harder at surprising times; you can prepare for your own issues, but someone else is also having issues and you may need to help them with those. And you’ve really gotta figure out what dreams you care about and how to get them. At the same time, you might be able to experience unconditional love from a peer for the first time, which is incredible and worth all of it. (“unconditional” is a complicated word, and this continues to trip me up. There are conditions; we’re human. But… maybe we can define “unconditional” as “loves you for who you are, even all the parts you hate.")
So. I’m feeling really good about my body, my most important relationship, and (perhaps most importantly) I’d say that “maybe everything isn’t hopeless bullshit”. And my mind is fine, I’ve got some decent skills, and I’m rich. What parts need to be rounded out in act 2?
- Kids. I’m even mildly excited about having them sometimes. Other times I feel like before ever going on my first roller coaster: I have no idea what to expect, but people seem to like this, so I’m pretty confident I will too. It feels like the next thing that’s gotta happen for our life to develop.
- Career. I can do things that make me money. I can do things that I feel pretty good doing from day to day. I haven’t gotten these to overlap yet. The sooner I figure this out, the better - but at least, sometime in Act 2! When work is going bad, everything’s bad (it’s a large portion of your day) so it’s pretty important to get this on the right track.
- Relatedly, though they might be the same and might be different: external purpose. Why will the world be a better place because I have lived? I need to either figure this out, or realize and believe that it already is.
- Pittsburgh, I guess? Let’s see what that brings.
The story you tell is the story that happened
We were debating moving down the hall to a similar apartment to save $1100/month. Pros: save $1100/month. Cons: slightly less space, and moving is hard. I told this story to basically everyone who would listen, and in some cases I asked for certain responses: “cool, get that discount!” or “it’s ok to not move; to effectively throw money at problems.” In either case, I felt validated. We ended up moving, and it’s fine, so that’s the story I tell. … Lesson learned, I think, is that if you’re super on the fence about something where both sides are fine, you don’t have to worry that the wrong story will get lodged in your mind; it just doesn’t.
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