There come times in most everyone's lives where you begin to wonder what you're supposed to be doing. When you wake up in the morning and wonder, "how the hell did I get here?"
That's where I am lately. I graduated from college ten years ago very bullish on parenting, marriage, and generally on the "house, wife, picket fence, 2.4 kids and a dog" track; two years ago that sunk with nary a trace, and since then I've been casting about for a directional "hook" on which to hang my hat.
In many ways I have little to complain about: I have a decent-paying job, a great family and two dogs and a cat that love me, several wonderful friends, a nice apartment and lots of toys. Counting blessings is a very effective way of reassuring oneself about one's current state. When I look two, five, ten years down the road, though, things are pretty bleak. I don't love my job enough to do it forever, and I don't love my own companionship enough to keep waking up every morning and having to determine for myself what the point is again.
When I was married, even when it was awful to the point of not wanting to go home at the end of the workday, the "provider, protector" purpose was still clear. The world preaches not to need anyone or consider yourself incomplete, but where do I fit in a world that doesn't care if I get fired tomorrow, or if I triumph over stupidity and animus for another day? Why bother going to all the effort if there's no prize of companionship and comfort to look forward to?
I'm a programmer, a writer and a tinkerer. I'm getting better at all these things as I age, and they bring a certain amount of fulfillment in themselves, but when it comes to brass tacks I don't give a rip about these things -- I want to be needed; I want to be important to someone snuggly and funny. I want someone to watch sunsets with, and playing kids, and fires in the fireplace. I'll sacrifice for that, work for that. There's honor in shoveling week-old horseshit if it keeps a roof over your family's head. But what happens when there's no family? What's the point to job, or roof?
As it is, I feel like a wind-up toy that's lost a wheel: spinning in frantic circles, expending all sorts of energy for little headway or purpose.
Time has also ceased to be my friend. Unless I want to start dating people five or ten years younger than myself (and be pushing retirement when the hypothetical kids hit college), time is sort of running out to get a family started. At the same time, nothing drives people off like the twin stinks of need and desperation, so this sort of thinking is worse than useless.
Hmf. End vent. Not fun. Readers run away.
Anyway, love the one you're with, people. It's all we really get.