Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Helping You See The View

One function this blog will serve for me is being an electronic sounding board. "The View From The TEM" is designed to help me sort through, analyze, and process all the experiences, thoughts, loads of crap, fears, pleasures, and other stuff life will bring my way. Needless to say, TVFTT will not always reflect a popular viewpoint, may be this side of self-indulgent, and will sometimes go against the beliefs and opinions of you, the reader. Read, reflect, feel free to comment, and hopefully learn along with me. If you agree with me, great. If you don't, feel free to say so, but be nice and respectful. A defining "View From The TEM" is agreeing to disagree and accepting people for who they are, not who we want them to be.

That said, I pick up a portion of the conversation that helped launch this site:

"One big thing I've learned over time is that there are worse things than waking up 40 and finding oneself single and not finding Mr. or Ms. Right For Me. What about waking up at 40, turning over and being consumed by resentment and disappointment...or not (even) waking up at 40?"

I pick up this portion of the conversation because I'm pretty close to 40 and for the longest, that age scared me silly. Some of it is the usual societal nonsense - from the pressure to be settled with a family by 40, the media pushing the idea that "40 is the new (insert younger age of choice here)." The majority of my fear came from a more personal demon. My dad died back in 1982, just shy of his 40th birthday and just after I turned 15. I loved my dad dearly, and his death haunted me for years. The story is long and involved - too long for the amount of time I have to post this evening - but I found myself comparing my life, my accomplishments and my insecurities to what I imagined he must have gone through at similar points. Now, after much introspection, experience, and time, I'm at the point where I've stopped making the comparisons. My dad suffered from depression but did little to seek help with managing it. I've suffered from bouts of depression throughout my life like him, but I've worked on finding ways to cope and manage the illness. My dad was insular and kept to himself. I have the same tendencies, but have been making efforts to get out of my shell. Granted I haven't been doing as much as I know I could, but I'm not living entirely within myself like I've done in the past and as he did for most of his life. I've also working on defining who I am, what I believe, and what it will take for me to live content and in a good, whole mental space that makes me comfortable and happy without concern of a timetable. Where once 40 was a big, looming red flag that stood for everything I hadn't accomplished, it now stands as a milestone of reflection. One that will allow me to see where I've been, release the mistakes of the past, embrace the lessons I've learned over time, and prepare for a hopeful future - one of my own making. By doing this, I hope that I am able to keep the parts of him I loved the most alive - the part that was strong, vital, and proud.

I dedicate this blog to his memory and work to live in a way that would have made him proud.

More to come later in the week.

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