Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mortality Has Reared It's Ugly Head

This year I've been feeling my mortality for the first time, and not because I turned forty-seven yesterday. Earlier in the year my wife had a blood clot on her brain and it really made me look at life and assess where I am in my own life. Yes I did realize that I have more than likely already lived more than half of my allotted time and I haven't accomplished much of what I want to. What I learned is that the clock is ticking. Clearly most people end up frustrated in life, not doing the things they would most like to be able to do. We get stuck in jobs we really would rather not do just to pay our bills. After all, it costs (a lot) to pay for a mortgage and associated bills, vehicles and gas, phones, food, clothes....this list could keep on going. The trick is to find a way to pay those bills while doing something that you enjoy. I'm not there yet.

Years ago when I worked at Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, WV my co-workers and I would laugh and joke about men (okay doctors) that would go through a mid-life crisis. These men always bought either a sports car or motorcycle and tried to look younger than they were. Now I feel that I understand them a lot better. Some of them clearly were trying to regain a part of their youth, a time when they were much happier, but they tried to do it by purchasing things instead of finding things that they like. That can only help superficially, smoothing the outside image that a person sends out without discovering what actually makes them happy. Also, it's usually at mid-life when you have the money to spend on these things, unless you're me. I've always been a late bloomer in life.

As for the others who were actually just trying to enjoy life more, well my experiences this year have made me think about what was really important in life. It isn't the things you accumulate, that you own. As a matter of fact those things usually end up owning you. You end up chasing the most recent, newest model or the coolest new gadget. I think it's much more important to be with people that you love and who enhance who and what you are. Basically, if you surround yourself with cool people you'll enjoy life more. Where you live, what you drive, your social status, none of those things are important to me. Making a huge sum of money while nice isn't that important either. What good does it do to make a million dollars a year if you work eighty hours a week and never get to see your family and friends? You never get to see your favorite band or go to the beach or see your child grow.

Believe me, if I could pay my bills off and find a way to support my family on a smaller budget I'd move to Peru right now. The cost of living is lower and there are so many beautiful things to see. I have many ideas that I need to work on, perhaps one of them could be the one to allow me to get paid to do what I like. You can write a hundred movie scripts but if nobody is willing to buy one, well you can't pay your bills with that. It seems that we always need a little help in one form or another to make our dreams and ideas work. Of course you have to put in the effort first to be properly prepared and make it easy for someone to say yes to those ideas. There are untold masses out there who have talent so you have to come with more than that. Determination and a strong will are necessary and even then you aren't guaranteed to succeed. The hardest thing is to find that someone who can help make it happen especially when you don't have any contacts in that field.

All I can do is keep working and planning and doing my research. At least then I can say that I gave it my best effort no matter what the outcome is. You can try and succeed or fail, but if you don't try you can only fail. Besides, if you throw enough crap against the wall eventually some of it will stick. Anybody out there who wants to help show me the way?

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

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