I guess some might say that, at 40, what I am going through is a mid-life crisis.
Before embarking, I should point out that I am not without happiness. I have a wife I absolutely adore and a three-year-old daughter whom I love deeply. We travel. We cook. We read. And we genuinely spend a lot of quality time together. So when you read my feelings below, please understand that they are quite possibly just the whimpering’s of a selfish bastard.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think that I have wasted a big part of my life. I realize that if I had made different choices that the abovementioned happiness may never have materialized. I get it. And I get that even if I had made different choices; these forthcoming feelings might still have appeared. However, as a 40-year-old man who has no career and no real employable skillset, the notion that I should have, at some point prior to now, worked harder toward building a career overflowing with skillsets feels like a credible regret. No matter how much it doesn’t make me feel like less of a man, and no matter how much I actually like it, telling others I am a househusband does not fill me with pride. I feel like if I had had a career, I could at least say that I ‘retired to be a stay-at-home-dad’ or something along those lines.
I used to be creative. I used to write, make music, and shoot street photography. Not anymore. Ever since the birth of my daughter things have been different. The creative juices that fueled my hobbies just ceased cold turkey. There are a few reasons this happened, and I am not sure getting into them at length is worth my time so I will simply say that I had had health problems prior to the birth, we’d moved in with my in-laws to save money while my wife was on maternity leave, and I quit smoking. Living in Gwang-ju, Korea without a gal bladder and cigarettes just wasn’t all that inspiring and it stressed me out.
I am mentally lazy and I agree that this is entirely my fault. I still read a fair amount of fiction, non-fiction, and news, but it all feels so much less mentally stimulating. When I was younger I couldn’t understand why older people didn’t give more of a fuck about the world. I totally understand now and regret every mean thing I said about ‘lazy middle-aged fuckers’. It is EASY to burnout mentally by 40. And with how early kids are getting started these days, soon it’ll be people burning out at 30. This isn’t to say that I don’t give more of a fuck about things, but it is to say that that giving a fuck isn’t as mentally stimulating as it was when I was younger. And without that stimulation, getting from phase one of giving a fuck to phase two of giving a fuck is a lot harder. Furthermore, I really should have dinner ready by 6:30pm, and there is a load of laundry on spin cycle. Shit doesn’t hang itself to dry.