It’s happened once before in my life. At age 28, I had one. Now, I’m on the verge of having another. Yes, the dreaded “age crisis”. Most people have them on decade years, like 40 or 50 or mid-decade years like 55 or 65. I have mine at the craziest times. I’m turning 39 in about a week and I’m freaked out about it, although I don’t know that I’m freaked out about it. Does that make sense? What I mean to say is that I’m looking in the internal rearview mirror of my life and seeing all the things that didn’t happen – all the plans that fell through, all the hard work that didn’t lead to the grand end results anticipated, all the, well, failure. I look at where I am and I wonder who I am, where I am, and why I am. I wonder if I’m where I should be, “should” being so relative a term as to be almost laughable in this line of questioning. Should I have given up on trying to get into medical school, though? Should I have let them discharge me from the military? Should I have spent the last 19 years of my life trying to recover somewhat to a functional level from PTSD with Depression and Anxiety? Should I have…? If not, what should I have done? What should I do?
These questions vex me. I called my doctor last night and had this conversation with him. He has a lot more life experience than I do and has had his own unexpected changes in course with his life. The difference between him and me is that he’s a sure success story, though. Me? I don’t know what I am. I know I’m a climber and it’s in my blood. I know I’m a blogger and a writer, and that seems to be in my blood, too. I’m coming into these things so late, though. And what about the 16 years of higher education that I went through to become a doctor? Do I consider those wasted? If so, I wasted almost half of my life! I don’t believe the knowledge is ever wasted, but the time and the energy, the effort and the money, all late nights and the heartache and the tears…what did it get me? I have a really bad disease called PTSD. I didn’t ask for it, but it dictates my life every day to a great degree. That’s what the Doc and I are working on. The Doc encourages me to do those things that I enjoy doing that help me, and says that I’m in a unique position to help people, which is why I wanted to become a doctor in the first place. This 39th birthday really has me wrapped up in what I haven’t accomplished – so much so that I’m not living right now in the present and not planning for my future. It’s a tough spot to be. I hate “age crises”. So to all of you who have had or are having an “age crisis”, don’t give up. You’ll find yourself someday. Even I’ve found myself. I just have to get back to myself, now.