"For the record, I knew you had it in you all along." -Glinda the Good
So, yeah, I'm sitting here wondering just what the hell is going on. Seriously. Middle age snuck up on me and now it's here and I'm suddenly freaking out over my 401(k) and what my social security check will look like in a few short years. I remember when the extent of my worries consisted of what kind of beer I was going to get for the weekend and when the next Rambo movie was coming out. Now there's a lot of late night anxiety coupled with healthy doses of self loathing and a rehashing of a life time of useless regret. I'm laying there wide awake at 12:30 AM hoping the Forensic Files will lull me to sleep or at least help me forget some of those asshole things I did at 24, or some of the stupid things I said to one of my ex wives in my 30's, or the fact that my youngest isn't daddy's little girl anymore.
Don't get me wrong. I am more content and happy now than I've ever been. I am almost 28 years into a great job that in this day and age people would literally kill to have. I have three beautiful daughters and a wonderful wife and a great home. I know it's illogical, but even with all of that, that little evil bastard lurking in the dark recesses of my animal brain still has to break out now and then in the wee hours and water board my ass for no other reason than to remind me that I still suck.
On top of that, I can't claim victim hood anymore, at least not in good conscience. I mean, in my 30's stuff would happen, like divorces and bankruptcy and bad milk and I was like, why is all this bullshit happening to me? When can I catch a break? It's only been in the last 10 year so that I've come to realize that I am, in fact, the leading man in my own drama. So it's not bad enough that I have to rehash all this crap once in awhile, I now have to cop to the fact that most of the bad stuff that has happened to me has been at least partially my own damn fault.
It's funny, but it's at that moment of self realization, when I admit to at least some culpability in my own misfortunes, that the regret monster starts to slither back into it's cave. It's like Glinda the Good Witch pops out of a bubble and tells me in that irritating voice that I've had the power all along and that I didn't have to step in all those potholes on the yellow brick road, that I could have simply gone around them. What? She couldn't tell me this 30 years ago? In all fairness, I wouldn't have believed her anyway, which isn't so bad. It's that wonderful capacity for stupidity in our youth that usually leads to wisdom in our later years (for most of us--but that's fodder for another essay).
Once again, the monster is gone and light prevails. Maybe someday I'll stop feeding it and kick it's ass for good.