Wednesday, April 2, 2014

33° Burns

When I turned thirty three years old I was six years past the age I thought I'd be when I got my shit together. For some reason twenty seven was the magic number. It popped into my head in my late teens as the marker when I'd be what I was destined to become. It sounds good to a younger person. Still young but far away enough to continue being a little dumb ass.
    All I did at that age was actually move out of my parents house. One maybe hoped for something more dramatic, something beyond the 'well, you should do that anyway' category. It was a step for me. I had friendly support and the change was made. Moving out allowed me to no longer crash on the floors of my friends who lived downtown. It also allowed me to have people over to my place, which I rarely did. Jesus Christ, six short years later I moved back in with my family.
    My father convinced me, he is very convincing at times, how awesome it would be to move into the building he bought. I could run the shop he opened, live upstairs from it and never stray too far. I bought it hook line and sinker. It was a tug, for sure. My mother was very clear that I didn't have to do this. I should have listened to mom. Well, I didn't and the lure of low overhead won out. And what was I doing with my life anyway ? I was making bits of art while unloading trucks and pricing stock at a downtown record store chain. I had two university degrees that occasionally worked out at parties but I was not using my so-called potential.
    I ran the shop. I still run the shop. I moved into the bigger apartment in the building when it was vacated. I did so in anticipation of a future girlfriend maybe moving in with me. Now we both live with my family so to speak. We enjoy the perks of a low cost of living along with the agony of being between a rock and a soft place. How does one untangle the lines, move to another place, away from the business we've claimed as our own and made fancy ?
    Today, almost twenty years later, the conundrum reverberates in my heart every day. We have a great apartment that is too noisy at times above a business that looks better than it operates. In the heart of a great neighbourhood surrounded by the best community anyone can ask for and yet…and yet. Gratitude exercises come and go, privilege is seared into every mouthful I eat, kids making noise in the alley is constant. The traffic outside my door will never ever stop. I'm middle aged and I can't help but feel I took the easy way out in this life, the road paved with minimum effort. I live in my father's house which means I haven't built my own yet. That lost hobbit hole I dreamed of as a kid.
    I am not a carpenter like he was, I'm kinda handy but not so much. I've learned a thing or two about odd jobs and upkeep. I open the bill envelopes when they come but have a hard time saving any money. My mother warned me about planning for the future, I told her things would work out. Somehow they have worked out but on their own terms not on mine. I've left life to do it's thing and only recently have awoken to the fact that I'm the one steering this clunky boat.
    At thirty three you're either crucified or given honorary degrees. I retreated into my nest.
    At forty six all I can think of are my fifties. So how does one steer a near lifetime of passivity into total action ?