So I always imagined that by the time I would be forty something years old that I would have life pretty much figured out. Let alone what my own beliefs would or would not be. Now that I have reached that stage in life we call “middle-aged”, I am thinking I may have had it all figured out more when I was younger. It seemed easy enough to handle. I’d finish school, get a job so I could afford my living expenses and expertly save whatever income I’d have left at the end of each month for my future. No problem, I got this! Hence twenty years later and I guess I was not the expert I thought I’d be at saving away my hard-earned cash. In fact twenty years later and all I really have is less time. I made it to the future and now that I am here in it, it does not look as I imagined it would at all. That is a bitter pill to try to swallow. It made me take a hard look at my life’s choices to see why I have created such a different life for myself than I always dreamt it would be. Now don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for all the experiences life has provided for me. I have been able to experience the full spectrum of both the heartaches and the triumphs that life entails to the fullest degree. It’s in those moments that I have always felt the most alive. Pushing one extreme or the other has taught me that whatever it is so far that life has dealt to me, that I’ve been able to survive and adapt to still be able to be here today. Yet I still find myself wondering that there has to be something more to life than this? I am half way through what would be considered the working years of my life and at the rate that I am going I don’t see how I’ll be anymore financially secure after the next half. In fact the opposite seems more practical since my savings is not growing any bigger while my debt continues to grow and grow. Without any significant increase, more of a decrease, in our income to counter with the rising cost of living, my wife and I may have to move from the home we’ve raised our children in for the past 20 years. Sometimes I wonder if I could be the only one that has been trying to get ahead in life to find themselves to have actually fallen far behind in it.
What does it feel like to fall behind in life?
That is not something I gave much thought about until over this past year when we were forced from a two income family to a one income family. We have always been able to stay afloat treading the waters very carefully but it didn’t take long before we found ourselves drowning in it pretty quickly. Due to my health needs at that time it required me to step away from everything for a while. Now I had no idea what “stepping away” meant in the slightest but was advised that I should probably set some free time aside where I wouldn’t have to drive and just be able to rest while I would be recovering. So the first few days of this stepping away wasn’t too bad at all. I could listen to albums I haven’t listened too in long time or binge on a series or movie but after a few days I was growing bored with the T.V. and the music started to sharpen my awareness of how alone and lonely I was feeling without anyone around to share it with. Sometime after a week went by and with my emotional state already quickly crumbling, I learned of Soundgarden and Audioslave lead singer Chris Cornell’s death and that just devastated me. I completely lost it and became obsessed in reading everything that he had written. The pain that he expressed through his lyrics was so raw and emotional but what I saw most in them was a person that no matter how talented the world saw him as, he did not think that he was deserving of the praise. I think what bothered me was that he was someone who I thought of that had overcome his doubts of self-worth but still ended up falling victim to anxiety and depression. Yet in his case, those close to him all thought that his depression was in submission. It is definitely something that we can keep hidden inside very well. I think that’s the case for us men anyways. We learn at a very young age that it is not acceptable to show our emotions, and don’t even think of crying if you’re in public. If you are upset it better be shown through either anger or rage. Those were always my ‘go-to’s’ whenever emotions would show up uninvited. Than we end up holding on to what seems like a life’s worth of pent-up emotions that we never dealt with correctly. It was somewhere around that time that I went from just feeling emotional to being full on depressed. I thought that I had experienced depression before and gotten over it but compared to what I would soon be facing I was not prepared for it at all.
Does my life hold more value to my family if I am dead or if I am alive?
Now that is a question that I hope none of you are ever stuck asking yourselves! It is definitely one that will keep you up at night if you don’t already have a hard time sleeping. Those are exactly the type of questions that depression will have you asking of yourself though. I found myself contemplating that on a daily basis when I first started falling into the grips of depression. I must have known something was not right because I decided that I should start taking an anti-depressant that was prescribed to me months in advance. Now I’ve heard the term debilitating depression before but would never understand what that meant and now that I do, I think ‘debilitating’ is putting it mildly! There’s an emptiness that fills you with such a void that takes you out of reality. You want to scream for help but what exactly would you be asking for help for? So than all you can do is suffer inside all by yourself in silence. Why? Because when you mention to others of your depression, it’s seen as an excuse or that you’re looking for a cop-out. Seriously. It never happens as you see in the movies where everyone rallies around you until your feeling better again. It’s a disease that is fought only on the inside and unfortunately one that you must fight alone. Depression was such a success at debilitating me that I would have to force myself to take a shower maybe once a week. Not because of choice but because just thinking of the act would exhaust me. Sometimes I’d go days without even leaving my bedroom and on the days I would I’d just see all the damage I was causing by not handling the chores around the house that I usually took care of. Even all my grass, shrubs and trees in the yard were all dying which just helped express my own feelings of death inside myself. That was the point where I started questioning if my loved ones would be better off without me. I could make the pain I was in go away and leave behind an insurance policy to be remembered for. So I started trying to come up with a way that I could make it happen that would not prevent my family from receiving my life insurance policy. During this time I was in two automobile accidents that ended up totaling both my vehicles with in a six month period. This continued for a while and truthful I can’t even tell you how long or if I am even over it yet today. It was probably at least 8 months during the worst. I can tell you that at some point during that time, in the shower none the less, I found myself on my knees crying to God. The very one I spent the previous six month cursing I was now asking why and begging for this pain and suffering I was going through to not be for nothing. I did not receive an answer but something did happen soon after when I awoke one day with a sense of hope and a creativity inside me that I haven’t had since maybe childhood. My imagination became so vivid it seemed almost magical yet frightening to me at the same time. It provided me with a source of inspiration inside myself that I so desperately needed. I haven’t figured out what to do with this said creativity yet but I do see it as a gift that has been put inside of me that I am trying my best to use in a positive way.
Does time hold any value nowadays?
As I get older the more valuable time has become to me. It is not something that I want to find myself asking for more of when my time comes. After all most of us were already given an entire lifetime to do with whatever it is that we have chosen to do with it. And the best part is that if you are reading this than you can still do whatever it is that you have always dreamed of doing. You will never be any younger again in your life than you are right at this moment. Try following what it is that your heart is telling you to do with your life. Let your heart be your guide and it will always lead you with love and compassion. Don’t waste your precious time living a life that you are not completely in love with. Our life spans are too short to spend it doing something that does not give you meaning or purpose. Look deep inside yourself and discover who exactly it is that you are under all the hats or mask that we wear throughout our entire lifetime. What values do you find important in life and are you living by those same values yourself? So as far as time being considered to be a valuable resource, I believe it is probably one of the most underappreciated resources that we have available for us in our world. When I took this past year off and ‘stepped away’ from the grind, I started noticing how much of our lives are spent doing the same exact thing each and every single day. I was able to see that I am just not a person that was meant to live that way. In our lightening quick world with everything streaming to us instantly and we’re all in a hurry to get here and there as quickly as we can it’s important for us to slow down, take a breath and make sure we are consciously aware of the life that we are actually living. Stepping away from our daily routine and habits through either meditation or other mindfulness methods can help us to have a clearer view of our self-awareness and to be more aware of the things that are happening in our surroundings around us. Hold on to the thoughts that empower you and let go of all the rest. Remember that it’s up to you and only you to create the most amount of value in your life with your time.