Mid-Life Crisis or Depression?

60s_XMI was driving to work today, relishing in the fact that my commute this day was a mere 15 minutes to work. I had just gotten my dark roast coffee from my drive-through and I was driving in the bright morning sunlight listening to XM-Sirius radio. I have been enjoying this two-month trial quite a bit, and on this day — as in the past few days — I’ve been enjoying listening to the 60s station. It brings back such nice memories of my childhood (yes, I really am that old!) and the ‘calm’ of my youth. I remember my mother playing so many of these songs, or hearing them on the AM radio in our old station wagon.

So there I was, basking in my dreamscape of vacation beginning in a mere four hours, when I see this black shiny Corvette go zipping by, and it made me think — why do people buy such fancy luxury cars, when you can’t even take advantage of their high-end performance! Most often, it is some middle-aged man in his 40s or 50s. I thought, “What is with these cars?”. Sure, sometimes you see men in this age group driving luxury cars as a sign of success and having “made it”, but more often than not, you see men driving fancy sports cars like Porsches or Corvettes. You don’t see 50-something men driving suped-up 4×4 pick-up trucks. Why? Because they don’t appeal to the inner youth of speed and high performance. They don’t “rev up” the male ego over-flowing with testosterone and all that male-ness!

So why do men get such fancy cars, or big yachts? Maybe it isn’t a so-called mid-life crisis after all? Maybe it is depression that yes, you really are in your 50s now, and you have less life ahead of you than you do behind you. Not to be morbid, but you are past your mid-life. So isn’t the “crisis” over?

I rather to think that the best years for myself are yet ahead of me, when I do not have to deal with the day-to-day toils of politics at work and can spend my days reading and walking. I long for the days when I can spend the days with my lovely wife and discovering new things together. I long for “day trips” when I can enjoy mountainous scenery or amazing beaches or state parks. But alas, we must work for now.

So where did this begin….. listening to the radio. Ahhh, the 60s …..

Settling into an Era

As I approach the five-year mark of my anniversary to Lena, a few things have become obvious: this is here to stay, and the past is the past (and it should remain in the past).

A couple of things have happened lately that bring this full-circle. Firstly, David has moved out-of-state to start a new life with his girlfriend. This happened several months ago, but my contact with him remains to be a bit limited. Perhaps this is just part of growing-up and finding his own way. Still, this is the new reality, having less contact with him, especially now that he has moved outside California.

Second, my old house on Elderwood was up for sale a couple of weeks ago and there was an open house that Sunday. I was very anxious to see it in person, after having lived there for 14 years. In most of the pictures on-line, there was evidence of my own hard work from whence I once lived there. It started to bring back a flood of memories and experiences, from my previous marriage, and from when my kids were younger. They were happy times, the starting of a young family, but certainly not without its issues. I did not want to “revisit” the house where memories are in the past with my ex-wife, so, the more I thought about it, the more I decided it was best to not go and just leave it in the past. That was then, this is now.

Lastly, I was going through some boxes in the garage just yesterday as I start to embark on yet another home project. I came across a box I had packed from moving from Fig Tree. We have lived at the new house for a year-and-a-half now, and this was probably the last unopened box. The box was marked “Firebird”, so I knew that it had a car model of a Firebird that David and I never put together :( But then I found a bunch of other papers and envelopes and postcards. At first I didn’t recognize it, but then I realized they were from my penpal in Finland. I was amazed at how much she had written me or sent me postcards from her travels.

The letters dated from 1997 to 2005. While I was curious to read through them, it was re-living memories that had no place in my life any more. I have moved on. In a very real way, it was bittersweet, because I had been writing her since about 1992. I glanced at a few letters, and most started off with “Sorry I find it so hard to write lately….”, which clearly shows that the long-distance relationship was not meant to be. It was once a fantasy to go to Finland and meet her – which still could happen some day – but now it is different. I have settled into a relationship that I have had for some 17(!) years now (having just past our 17th anniversary mark of our first “date”).

Things are different now, and while I once was adamant about holding on to these memories, they belong in the past. Even the last few emails (2013?) were a bit of a struggle. She has moved on with her life, and me with mine. While I will always enjoy the escape she gave me from my life and marriage at the time, they are now just memories of the past. I don’t believe you can totally “trash” the past (or the person) since you did at one time have nice memories of that person, whether it be a penpal or an ex-wife. After viewing a few sentences here or there, it was time to permanently delete these letters and postcards … and they were all shredded. Bittersweet, but it isn’t “right” to hold on to them unless I am in a relationship with that person.

Life goes on.

TV Ain’t Like It Used To Be

I was watching late night TV the other night. Lena had gone to bed and OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was doing some channel surfing. Some show caught my eye and it got me thinking, and triggered an avalanche of thoughts of TV shows I used to watch growing up. So many shows gave me fond memories of my childhood and teenage years and made me realize that TV shows today just don’t have the lasting impact as the ones of yesteryear. They just don’t make then as they used to!

Gone are the days of black and white TVs with rabbit ears and manual dial. Gone are the days where you could count the number of available channels on one hand, and half of those would sign off the air at midnight after playing the National Anthem. Gone are the days where families circled around the TV and enjoyed good wholesome entertainment together.

Initially my thoughts were, “What are the top three uniquely creative TV shows in my youth. I quickly came up with were:home_improvement

mork_mindy

married_childrenNot necessarily the first three other people might think of, but I recall many, many times where the level of humor of the shows were simply original and made me laugh like I had not laughed in a long, long time. Mork & Mindy with Robin William’s quirky quick wit was simply one of a kind. No one could even touch his creative style! Home Improvement was original in it’s own right with a growing family and the mishaps of “Tim the Toolman Taylor”. Married With Children was so cutting edge with it’s off-center humor, such as we have not seen the likes of since All In The Family. The bumbling husband trying to make ends-meet with his dysfunctional family. No matter what happened and how many pretty women came into his shoe store, he was just a regular guy dedicated to his crazy family.

This got me thinking (always a dangerous thing to do! lol) about some of the really iconic movies that I used to love so much growing up. The more I thought about it, the longer the list grew – so rather than make it an endless task, I decided to just list the ones that came first to my mind…

Superman-TV-Show-1952 my_three_sons my_favorite_martian mayberry_rfd HoneymoonersBW i_love_lucyleave_it_to_beaver lost_in_space gilligan's_island adamms_family

I really miss these old shows. There hasn’t been anything on TV even close since then!