Here’s the thing. My brain is a very odd place. Friends and people who have talked to me for long periods of time often tell me they wish they could camp out in my brain, but I wouldn’t recommend that. It’s really cluttered, loud, always going, and it doesn’t always function the way I want it to. Like, when I’m supposed to be working my regular job, my brain tends to get bored. Not that I don’t need to concentrate on my job, it’s quite demanding and…well… thinky…
(Guys, just accept the fact that I will be making up words off and on…)
The chaotic path of thoughts my brain often takes doesn’t always make sense to me. But sometimes it does. In those rare moments, I run them by Shauna to make sure that I’m not insane. I can’t always trust that brain of mine. The filter part malfunctions at the most inopportune times. Sometimes it’s like having my own internal hype man encouraging me to say something that seems perfectly logical or down right hilarious, only to find that it’s something “we shouldn’t say out loud” or “can be kind of rude.” (Her words, not mine)
Anyway, today my brain decided to take a walk on the verge of some sort of age crisis. I can’t say midlife crisis because I’m not quite there yet. I can’t say the whole, “OMG I’m turning 30!” crisis, cause I’m long past that. No, today I have determined that I am old, but like a shitty version of it.
(Stick with me folks…)
So, I often complain about being old. Full disclosure, age-wise, I guess I’m not. I was born in 1979, a child of the 80s and 90s. (To those who are older than me, I know… I’m sorry… But you probably had your internal monologue about aging already, so stop judging me!) Anyway, I’ve determined that I’m in that in-between old stage. Like when we thought of growing older I’m sure we looked to people like our grandparents or some other display of old age. Retired. Sitting in a rocking chair. Travelling. Living up the golden years. Ahhhh… Bliss…
Yeah, I’m still too young for that. I’m at that age where I realize that I probably should have followed my dream when I was in my 20s, but being a child of the 80s/90s from a family that wasn’t exactly “well off,” that whole “responsibility” thing kicked in and I decided to do something that would create some semblance of financial stability. I chose the sensible over the passion.
I hear you out there, “You should have followed your dream!” That’s easy to say NOW. Now kids can go back home. Do you know how much Black parents do NOT want their kids to return home once they’ve left?! Especially old school parents?! Yeah, not an option.
I’ve had a pretty good life thus far. It’s been full of heart breaks (who’s hasn’t? amirite?) Laughter, tears, anger, pain and everything in between. But there have been a lot of blessings. First and foremost, I convinced the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my life to marry me.
(Granted, it took like 8 years…cause your girl knows how to play the LONG game)
I’ve made some great friends, I’ve experienced some amazing things. However, I also have some things I wish I could go back and do again. Like I wish I would have stayed with my original major of psychology. I wish that maybe I would have believed in myself a little more and tried this writing thing earlier. I wish, I wish, I wish.
As I said, my job is fairly demanding and can take a lot out of you. It’s in these times when I just feel…tired. I sit at my desk and deal with egos and annoyances and all of the other stuff that comes with running the hamster wheel that is corporate America and I’m tired. Then I start thinking, “I need a break.” But I don’t have the opportunity to have a break. You see the way my money is set up…
I’m too young to comfortably retire. I’m too old to switch careers and follow my dreams. I’m too young to be exhausted ALL. THE. DAMN. TIME, but I’m too old to go clubbing every weekend and stay up past, oh I dunno, 10pm. I’m too young to not understand that technology is an intricate part of human existence these days, but I’m too old to truly appreciate the wonders technology brings to the world. I mean, I used to be able to spell. I used to know somewhat proper grammar. I used to be able to memorize phone numbers. I used to be able to critically consider things and not rely on technology to think for me. But those days are gone. Now, I rely on my phone and the Google to help me remember shit that used to be stored in my brain. I literally cannot spell the word Mediterranean without the assistance of spell check. I used to know that word! I tried to send it in text the other day. You know how when you type a word and you get close enough, spell check kicks in and says, “here, lemme help you out.” I was so off, my own spell check had no idea what I was trying to say. It was like, “Sorry, can’t help you, dawg.”
(That would be sad and embarrassing to admit if it wasn’t also so freaking funny…)
I’m too young to look forward to retirement; to the days of puttering around and being involved in my passions or hobbies. While some people have the courage, fortitude, and finances to start over and do something else… I ain’t got it like that. I follow my true desire on the side because we want to keep a roof over our heads and we have grown accustomed to the lifestyle of a two-income household that just can’t be undone all willy nilly. Granted, I know it happens with layoffs or something, but we aren’t in a situation where one of us can just stop working cause they want to do something else that may or may not make them money. Not how it works.
Therefore, I am working in a demanding, thinky job and then I come home and I write, because that is where my heart is. So, I’m tired all the damn time. Sometimes I find myself wishing for a heart attack. Not a big heart attack. But something that will just let me REST. Then my brain turns to something more gruesome like, “If I were dead I wouldn’t have to deal with this shit. I wouldn’t have to argue, I wouldn’t have to feel like I have to justify my existence, I wouldn’t have to be so gosh darn tired!!” That sort of thinking is expected maybe for a 90-year-old. For someone who has lived a full life and is just bone weary and someone who probably deserves rest more than a 38-year-old.
When someone my age complains about feeling old and being tired, EVERYONE acts like the idea is preposterous. People older than me give me a look like I just complained about sore feet to a footless person. Then those younger than me laugh off the notion, “what? You’re so young!!” No Shelly, YOU are still at the age where YOU can go out Thurs – Sun nights, and still keep a job, I’ve been there and done that. My body won’t let me do that anymore! Basically, I’m at the age where I’m not ALLOWED to be tired. I’m not ALLOWED to just wanna lay down somewhere and sleep for days. For a 90-year-old, the notion is understandable. But when it’s someone my age, people start throwing around words like “depression” and “suicidal ideation” and “passive suicidal thoughts.”
(Remember how I said I always bounce things off of Shauna to ensure I’m not insane? Yeah, those therapy words come from her. I’m still just in finance.)
Anyway, the exhaustion is only heightened when I look around at the current state of things. It just makes me more tired. It’s like I’m a couch quarterback, yelling at the TV “HE’S OPEN! HE’S OPEN!” Except, I’m like yelling at half the country and it’s more like, “ARE YOU HEARING YOURSELF?! WHAT IS WRONG W/ YOU?” I’m not old enough to not care cause I’m on my way out, and I’m not young enough to push responsibility onto someone else. I’m at the age where I’m supposed to just function.
That’s what it feels like. I’m just functioning. (sometimes barely, and often with the assistance of some good alcohol)
So, I write. I write because maybe I will unlock some internal solution to stop merely functioning, but find a way to live the dream and not just chase it after hours. I write because it’s a part of me I’ve denied for so long. I think self-denial is another aspect of my fatigue. Not allowing the creative outlet to expel the things that make me so tired in a way that is constructive. When I finished Shadow Resistance, I thought maybe that would do it. I finally did it, I finished one. But now I realize, there is more in me. There’s more to say.
So, I write.