The spirit of a New Yorker trapped in the body of a San Franciscan who is most comfortable living in Chicago

I've been keenly aware this year that I am 37, and that I have entered the second half of my life. The moon has been full and it is now waning. I don't mean to sound morbid, but I've been thinking a lot, every single day, about the end of my life. And what this second act means; in all plays the first act sets up the characters, the circumstances, and the action of the play - the second act provides meaning, resolution, and generally the moral of the story. 

What is the moral of my story? What is the mark I want to leave? What is it that I want to do with the rest of my time? 

I have the good fortune to be successful in business, to have studied things that interest me, to have an inherent passion that fuels me and propels me (mostly) in the direction I want to go in. I know a lot of people that don't know what they want to do in life. I know exactly what I want to do; I always have. 

So what's next? How and what do I choose as a next step? It's one thing to be lost, quite another thing to be found. It's one thing to be seeking, it's another to try and figure out what to do with all that you've found. 

I don't mean to sound whiney, I am aware of my good fortune, the blessings I am given every day to have as much freedom and choice I do as a creative hooman living in 2015. 

But as a single, childless gay man entering this second act... I do not want to go quietly into that night. I don't want to get complacent, bored, resting on the laurels I've already earned. I don't want a calendar of endless brunches and nights in strange bars with strangers not creating anything that changes the world. I don't want to work with people on projects where it's "just business" and not personally fulfilling and validating. I want a life as a vibrant, connected, curious artist making a living for providing vision through experience, will, and creativity. I want love and community and to be heard, seen and understood. I want full access to my voice. 

Do I want to move to a new city? Flee to the suburbs where I can afford a house with a backyard? Start a business? start a theater group? teach meditation? Spend time living and working abroad? Travel with my dog? move to the woods in a little cabin with my dog and be hermit AF? Yes. All of it. How does one decide? There is only so much time. I have a deep seeded fear of things being decided for me without my consent. How does one overcome such a deep fear? 

Some would council that the meaning of life is all about the small things, the daily things, the routines, the relationships - that finding meaning and reflection in the small moments, the common moments, is where you will find fulfillment and grace. I have, on occasion, found this to be true. But I have a proclivity to the big, the grand, the scaled up-ness of it all - and I am often bored in those spaces. When I'm functioning on a large scale with big decisions, big events, big picture stuff  - I am often saddened by the lack of humanity, of the small, in that space. I sit on this dichotomy every day. 

I do know one thing for certain, this 37th year - that I define myself as having the spirit of a New Yorker trapped in the body of a San Franciscan who is most comfortable living in Chicago. So where does that leave me aside from incredibly unsatisfied everywhere I am? At home everywhere? What does that mean exactly? What does that look like? Creating as I go... not really sure what I'm even talking about anymore. 

Maybe the change I seek is internal, and maybe it's about simply letting go of control and letting the world give back to me. Going with the flow, as the kids say. But what and who's flow? Society? Business? My family? My friends? It's so easy to get caught up in other people's currents....

 As someone who is addicted to and creates outward change at the drop of a hat, maybe the radical change is one that is within - allowing yourself to grow into who you've set it all up to be. To everything there is a season, and maybe the late summer/autumn of life is about making less outward changes and more inward ones. Ughhhhhhhhhhhh.

“The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it.”


― C.G. Jung

WIlliam PacholskiComment