Sunday, March 14, 2021

Birthday Reflections: Aging, Picking Battles, and Reassessing Priorities

I just recently had one of those birthdays that ends in a zero. At the same time, my phone happened to be in for repairs, and my wife had just gotten home after being away for a month. So I was unplugged for a while, with the exception of the work I have to do online to feed my family. 

Between that and the milestone birthday, I had cause to reflect on how I was spending my time. I'd been reading lots of daily digests to keep up with current events and do research for my current-events blogging. I had aspirations to become a political writer/blogger who could actually make some money at his hobby. I edit for a living and write for fun. But having stepped away from my immersion in current events for a couple of weeks made me realize how much time I was spending on my research, and how stressed out current events were making me.

I've always heard people say that you place a greater value on your time as you get older, and I think that's generally true. When you have more years behind you than ahead of you, you have to ask yourself what you're going to do with the time you have left.

I sincerely want to do what's in my power to make a better world for my daughter to live in. My thought has always been that if I just keep rattling cages about the contemporary state of affairs, that would make some kind of difference for her. But I've been blogging for nine years and bellyaching about stuff on social media for probably even longer than that. And what do I get for it but a couple of views and a handful of likes? And those are from people already in a similar mindset to my own. 

It feels like a surrender to say this, as politics has always been vitally important to me. But what if making a better world for my kiddo just means spending quality time with her? Before I know it, she'll be a moody teenager who wants nothing to do with me. I have so little time left to enjoy her in her loving, innocent, and formative years. If she wants to play pretend, watch a video or a movie or a TV show with me, hear my praise for the drawings that come out of her creative mind, play card or board games, go out to eat, ride our bikes (when the weather breaks), or just be a sounding board for her, then maybe that is the way I make a better world for her. After all, she's going to remember those fun things she did with her dad far more than she's going to remember a stupid blog post I wrote that she might not ever read.

So my Substack blog is on hold, my Facebook presence will be minimal, and my activity at Minds and VK will most likely be curtailed as well. 

Yeah, we all need outlets and time to ourselves. But I look around my office and see all the money I blew on the guitars I was determined to learn and probably will never advance beyond three or four chords. I see all the pipes I bought looking for the right one, when now I pretty much use a grand total of one of them. I've thought about buying a few more guns, getting out to the range, and maybe trying my hand at hunting. But given my track record, I'd probably end up with a bunch of expensive paperweights. I've also been tossing around the idea of buying an old car and tinkering around with it as a hobby -- but my wife is right that I could only drive it a few months a year where we live, so that would probably be a completely impractical waste of time and money too. 

That's my problem: I want a creative outlet, but in pursuing one I usually end up wasting a lot of time and funds throwing myself into endeavors that I give up on. 

My precarious health plays into all of this as well, I'm sure. When you feel terrible 24/7 and no one can tell you what's wrong, believe me, you want something else you can focus your mind on. But maybe it's best simply to embrace the misery and pour what energy you can muster into just being there for the ones you love.

I thought blogging might become my creative outlet, but if it just stresses me out, what good is it doing me? The world will go on whether I bitch about Joe Biden and woke leftists or not. I won't change its course. I'll have no effect on it whatsoever. 

But I can have an effect on my little castle in my little corner of the world. Hopefully, it'll be a net positive effect. 

I do what I can. That's all any of us can do. 

But boy, does the idea of a classic car ever call to me...

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