39th Birthday Post

November 30, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I realized I’d been going through what is commonly known as a mid-life crisis. Which means, I suppose, I’m going to live to be 78. Whatever age I manage to make it to, I was subconsciously feeling like I have accomplished nothing in my first 39 years of existence.

I suspect I won’t undergo these kinds of growing pains upon my “Big  4-0” next year since my anxiety this year was centred around the feeling of OH MY GOD I ONLY HAVE ONE MORE YEAR TO ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING BEFORE I’M 40!

By October of next year it’ll be a moot point since it’ll be all too clear that I wasted another year ineffectually pottering about in my basement, quietly grumbling at the world for ignoring my undeniable greatness, and dejectedly admitting the world has far better things to pay attention to. Really, the same routine I’ve been following for 39 years now. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

But every year I do try to fix it. With my birthday falling so close to the end of the year, this is when I make my resolutions. This year my overarching goal is to feel like I accomplished something by the time I’m 40.

The problem with this goal is whenever you accomplish something, that merely means you’ve made it up another rung of the accomplishment ladder and you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything worthwhile. I read somewhere, probably in an article about Steve Jobs, this is just the way ambition works.

Truth be told, in the last three years I’ve accomplished more that I had in the previous 35. Professionally I make more money, the podcast has maintained a small audience (though how many downloads are actually listened to is unknown), I’ve sold more of my music  (and finally put out a vinyl record) and had more media coverage for said music than ever before, yet it still feels like treading water.

So what rungs do I want to climb before the end of November, 2012?

  • Take Moonwood on tour this summer, whether it’s just four crappy cities in Ontario or a dozen cities in Germany and Scandinavia. Touring is something I’ve avoided (it seems like a horrific experience) but have always felt not doing it has delegitimatized my status as a serious musician. Perhaps it has more to do with myself not being very serious about being a musician in general, but I have always blamed it on the lack of touring.
  • Actually do something with Nerd Hurdles other than stagnate indefinitely. Although I’m one of the most derisive eyerollers when podcasters whinge about the futility of podcasting and start dropping hints they’re going to kill their show, lately I’ve become more sympathetic to that attitude. Not that we don’t have fun doing the show, but we have fun together anyway. We don’t need to actually record our random bullshit.
  • Get rid of the beard. It’s started making it hard to do things. I need to hold books way out in front of me as if I have poor eyesight, or really big boobs. Plus, it keeps getting in my food at an ever increasingly disgusting rate. And also, I haven’t seen my face in over three years (long enought to forget how much I really hate shaving). I’m wondering if I’ve noticeably aged under there. It’s become a bit of a fascination for me. First I’d like to enter a beard contest though. And when I shave it off, do it for charity some how. I bet I can auction off a merkin made out of my beard.
  • Open a music venue in South Etobicoke. This is a terrible idea doomed to failure purely based on geography and TTC limitations. But there’s pretty much absolutely nothing down there—not really even bars with crappy cover bands—yet there’s got to be people who wish there was. There’s a freakin’ music program at the college next door to our house! Still, I’d like to give it a shot. Do something community building in my neighbourhood for once in my life. Maybe if I get laid off.
  • Finish the rewrite on my novel Terminal Park and either get some sort of publisher interest in it or self-publish it for the “Kindle” market.
  • Refresh my study of Taoism so that I can go back to not caring about not accomplishing anything.

Maybe I’ll just focus on that last point.

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