It hit me tonight that I am rapidly approaching my 39th birthday. 39 years. Do you realize what that means? I'll be entering the last year of my 30's.
'Yes John. That's how these things work mathematically.'
OK. OK. But soon to be in my 40's? Where on earth did the time go?
'You learned early on that the earth revolves around the sun, and that constitutes a whole year, and every year you get another year older didn't you?'
Well, yes. Of course I did. But back then the years seemed to drag on endlessly. School years in particular. When, oh when would the summer come? Now I'm turning 39 and thinking where the heck did my twenties go? I did have those, right?
'Yes John. You spent several of those years at school, most of them in the USMC, and a far too many of them trying to decide what you wanted to be when you grew up. Remember?'
No! Well, yes, a little. But those years were over in a blink!
'That's not what you thought at the time.'
No, but now I'm trying to figure out where the thirties went.
'Marriage, kids, jobs and remarkably more school. You know, for someone who couldn't wait to get out of school you certainly seem to keep going back an awful lot.'
Oh hush. I only went back to school to work my way up the EMT ratings to be a medic. I had to have a career that I loved to do the wife and kids thing, right? Speaking of which... When did the Boyo get so flipping tall!?! I was JUST rocking him to sleep as a little baby...what... a couple of weeks ago?
'Six years buddy. It was six years ago. You remember... In your early-ish thirties.'
And my little Sweet Pea... walking and talking and acting like a toddler! She JUST learned to crawl!
'Yeah. Two years, Johnny.'
Holy buckets! Seriously? What about all of my old friends? I saw them just a couple months back, right?
'Sorry to disappoint you again. But it's been two decades for some of them, and a year or two or ten for those who were your best friends. At least you can keep up with them on facebook!'
Man oh man. Now I AM feeling old. Shouldn't I have made my first million by now? Be near the top of the ladder in my career? Or at least somewhere in the middle? All of these years have passed and I still feel like I'm just getting going! What in the sam hill have I been doing all this time?
'Learning, my friend. Learning. Not just in schools either. You seem to teach yourself a new skill or hobby every few months. Is there something you have NOT tried yet? You also get an education in early childhood development and Marriage 101 every day. You are discovering new things about yourself every day too. Like all of the places you still want to see, all of the things you still want to do, all of the things you really don't want to do anymore. You do realize that you'll need to live about two-hundred more years to fit all that study and travel in, don't you?'
Well... but LIFE is happening now! I have to work to pay the bills and I can't just traipse off on my own to do stuff anymore. I'd really rather have the Wife and kiddos along anyway! They are too much fun to not be around. I'll never make a million as a medic, and the 'ladder' is about three rungs high, so not really a great climbing opportunity. What to do? What to do?
'Sounds like you need to do one of two things. A) Settle in to your career and life and just be happy with where you are, what you make, and what you are doing, or B) Throw caution to the wind and go after all of those ideas and dreams. If you choose B, you should probably make a list though. Better to go at it with some sort of plan for a change.'
Caution... Wind... Put 'em together. Life has already been a roller coaster of a ride. Though I have felt at times like it was more coasting. It's well past time to turn the engines on and go full speed ahead. It is exhausting to think about, but I suppose I'll rest when I'm dead.
'You'd better get started then. You are nearing the downhill part of this ride, and you still don't really know what you want to be... Do you?'
I don't know. I've never been fond of defining myself by a job or career. Yes, I am a Paramedic. I enjoy that work for the most part. It gets draining sometimes, dealing with the pain and death. Also dealing with the whiners and hypochondriacs. But I get great satisfaction out of the job sometimes. I don't fit into the mold of being just a medic, though. I'm also an artist that works in a HUGE array of media. Metal, wood, glass, music, photography, name it - I've probably dabbled in it. I'm a gardener who gets totally geeked about every little sprout I plant. I'm a former Marine with all of the pride and attitude that goes with it. I'm fiercely opinionated and once I've made up my mind on something, it is hard to change. I can drive almost any vehicle on land, a bunch on the water, and quite a few in the air. I've been a carpenter, plumber, welder, electrician, roofer and a host of other trades... but never for a living. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool DIY'er... A jack of a great many trades, but a master of none. I know that in everything I do, I still have much to learn. Most importantly, I'm a husband and a father. The money for that isn't great, but the benifits are amazing!
So I guess that all this time, I really did know what I wanted to be. There just wasn't a career path for it.
I want to be the best ME that I can be.
I want to be as good as I possibly can at being a dad and a spouse. I want the best medic I can be. I want to make the best knives that I can make. The best bows, bean towers, stained glass, and other artwork that I can create. Take the best pictures I can take. I want to do as many new things as I can until I can't anymore.
Life is too short for labels. But we get pigeon holed based on jobs or careers, on how much money we make. That has taken a toll on me for far too long. People ask "What do you do?" "I'm a Paramedic." I can say. But it is such a small part of the answer to that question. From now on, I think I'll try answering "Almost everything!" and see where that gets me!
Hmm. What do you do? Almost everything, and not enough.