In the evenings, after work, as I page through my sidebar links to "Websites That I Visit Every Day", I find myself wistfully wishing that I didn't have to work for a living.
Just think: like Sondra K at Knowledge is Power, Kim du Toit at The Other Side of Kim, and David Codrea at The War on Guns (for example), I could spend my days surfing the net, finding interesting or curious articles, and being The First to Blog Them.
But alas, as my 63'd birthday approaches (Saturday), I find that after a full day in GeekDom Office, by the time I get home, fix dinner, 'have a life' (such as it is), my time available for blogging is not only limited by the need to work/sleep/eat but also by the Requirements of Life.
Recently I've been spending more time on family matters, such as addressing the computer crash so my mother can keep in touch with her very large family via email; paying bills; submitting my annual tax return and generally keeping myself informed on Events of the World.
It's not that Life is Bad, as such.
I have my health, which 'they say' is important for 'a man of advancing years'. (I attribute my success here to my propensity to avoid doctors whenever pain is not so distracting as to preclude activities which I enjoy more than talking to doctors who insist I quit smoking and drinking, and smoking, and drinking, and mile exercise via occasional visits to The Range.) And I have activities which interest me ... writing, reading, not doing housework even if it kills me.
I have my job, which I love. I've been an Applications Programmer for over 35 years, and while some programs are more interesting to write than others, I have an excellent boss (not a pointy-hair to be seen), users who are intelligent and personable -- at a University, it's amazingly refreshing to discover that they really CARE about the students whose welfare they are dedicated to serve -- and the people I work with are bright, articulate and invariably helpful to each other.
My family is a constant joy. My children never write, they never call; I never write, never call my mother, and my sibling often challenges me to eschew defensiveness in favor of actually considering that she may have a point when she emphasizes my lapses in appropriate behavior ("I never write, never call ...")
My friends are almost entirely members of the Practical Shooting community, if I may identify them so, and they are universally personable, bright, outgoing, charming and great fun to spend the odd weekend at the range with. My children are working out the problems of starting a familial life, and I can be as supportive as I like but ultimately their occasional problems are a concern, but they are not MY problems.
To put the cap on the day, I enjoy The Love of A Good Woman -- SWMBO. Another constant joy, and one of the sanest people I know. Besides which, she's as cute as the proverbial Bug's Ear. (If this seems to be Faint Praise .. sorry. It's an expression of affection. Get over it.)
So what is the source of my angst?
Actually, nothing. There is no angst.
I love my life and I'm not afraid to admit it. I am secure in my love of life. It may be popular to declare "it sucks to be me", but while to paraphrase Kermit the Frog "it isn't easy, being Geek", I get more fun out of being me than most people, I think.
I like me. I like the people with whom I choose to associate. I have an interesting job, interesting activities, and the only demurrer in my litany of joy is that there are just not enough hours in the day to do EVERYTHING I would wish to do.
I'm no 'Lotus Eater', looking for diversions as an excuse to avoid Life. Rather, I think I enjoy life ... for definitions of "Life" which suit my personal philosophy. That philosophy embraces sufficient guns to shoot; sufficient books to read; sufficient articles to read and sufficient articles to write (even if nobody reads them); people to love; a rewarding and fulfilling job that pays me just enough money to do the other things I enjoy; a home in which I feel comfortable (and which no longer leaks); and more things I want to do than I have time in which to do them all.
Envy me, O you pagans!
What's the point of writing all this down and publishing it?
Gloating, my friend. Pure egocentric gloating that, if your life sucks in the smallest possible way, I feel better.
Someday the smoking will catch up with me and I will have to deal with lung cancer or "Heart Disease". Or my genetic background will be inflict in my mind with Alzheimer's (and die in unrecognized pain and agony), or my retirement will reveal itself with insufficient funding to support myself. I will suffer some irredeemable ill or misfortune against which I have not prepared myself.
And in my ultimate discomfiture, I will reflect on a life of Selfishness, Self-Indulgence and Self-Fulfillment.
And I can say: "I have been selfish, and I have enjoyed every fricking minute of it!"
Note to self: the people I love? Be sure to tell them at every opportunity that they are loved.
Oh, and clean the bathroom, and the oven, will you? This place is a shambles.
Envy me, O you pagans!
In the meantime, while I recognize the we must all go sometime ...
("Do not go gracefully into that good night.
Rage, Rage at the dying of the light!")
I expect to outlive all of you. You're Good People, you deserve a dedicated mourner.
I can do that.
Jerry The Geek
UPDATE: the next day
This morning I woke with the feeling that I should not have posted this. It was all too personal (too egocentric) and more than a little too
No time in the morning to login at home and change the status to 'DRAFT'; I'll do it later.
But my day at the office was so busy that I never found time for lunch, so I decided to wait until I got home.
Now here I am, and there are some very nice comments. Rather than disrespect the people who cared enough to respond, I'll just leave it up. It'll soon be forgotten ... but not by me.
Thank you, good people, for the grace to let me be 'smarmy'.