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At 35, I’m among the oldest segment of the millennial generation. Old enough that I learned to type on an Apple II-e, and I can remember the first-ever live televised cruise missile strikes during the Gulf War, yet not old enough to ever have had a nun strike me with a wooden pointer or to have had to “duck & cover.”
Thirty-five is a frightful precipice of middle age – the age Dad-bods may become irreversible if not taken seriously. And the chasm between who you wanted to be and who you really are is a reality you can no longer numb away. Will I live to 70? 80? Die tragically young while traveling – or worse, while not traveling?
Thirty-five is a chance to turn things around and have a good life, but unlike previous chances the stakes are much higher. A few years missing to craziness may still be explained away in a first date or a job interview, so long as recent history tells a different story. But probably not so at 40, when chances to be a truly eligible bachelor have come and gone. At 25, the idea that one might toil away in obscurity and never accomplish anything meaningful is a distant abstraction. That’ll never happen to me. But when one wakes up at 35 – when life is more than a third over and more likely closer to half gone, the sheer terror of ending up a loser is front and center, and suddenly that is the driving force behind every action, every decision, every day.
So that’s where I am: Terrified. And now I’m harnessing that terror and channeling it into a new chapter of non-fiction writing and documentary film and audio. So even if I never ‘make it,’ at least there will be a record of me trying. And trying is the difference between winners and losers.
Every new half-decade brings with it a new level of existential bewilderment and awe and fear and confidence. But now, at 35, I’ve chosen to engage with life in ways I haven’t before. How life is changing will inform my work here on Not Quite Sunday. With this post I’ll start with the first and most elemental reason I’m pursuing better quality life, and creativity, and love. That is, time flies so fast. Too fast.
That fact didn’t really hit home until people I knew started to die. Not just distant relatives and grandparents – people my age and younger. So, I’ve learned to treat time more like money and money more like time. Coincidentally embracing fear and letting go at the same time has been the key to awakening my creative spirit after a long hibernation.
So here I am, ready to humbly lay golden eggs for you, in hope that you in turn do the same for others. Welcome to Not Quite Sunday, where like the next new week, success is just around the corner. ♦