Thursday, 13 March 2014

40

Today is my 40th birthday. 

Ugh. Let that be an indication of how I feel about today. 

For the past year, I've been dreading this day. Like, from the moment I turned 39, I've been mentally and emotionally prepping myself for today. If anything, today and the dreary build-up to it has probably played a significant part of my mood lately (duh!). 

Why? It's the halfway point of the ride that is Life. Odds are pretty solid that reaching 80 is not in the clouds (none of the men from either side of my family have hit that milestone) and 40 is pretty much when the body hits that marker like a marathon runner midway through the race. You see where you are at that point and time compared to the other runners and begin to evaluate what you need to do in order to catch up and overtake them. What seems to be bothering me the most is that I'm far back from the rest of the pack in what matters most for the last half of this marathon: financial security. To put it simply, I have $78 in my RRSPs, rent my house and have no investments or assets. And this is not entirely because of the accident, that simply pulled the last rug out from under me (my credit score, which is now about as low as a dung beetle sinking in quicksand). 

To explain this properly, let me give you the answer from a financial advisor I saw two years ago when I was trying to sort out my debt problems. I had no job, no timeline when I could return to work and owed quite a bit to some rather pushy collection agencies. "There's nothing you can do," I was told. "You have nothing to protect and nothing they can take instead. You can't even file bankruptcy. You have no option other than not paying your debts because what little you have has to go towards basic needs and support." Ouch. And that was two years ago. It's only grown mold since then. 

My wife and I have been talking about it over the past week since I admitted to myself (and everyone else) that I'm depressed and she had a theory on why that is. "You live in the now. If you don't like what you're doing, you just stop doing it." Hearing that spoken out loud by someone else is one of the revealing no-baronets that flicks on the lightbulb. It's something you know all by yourself, but smacks you across the face when it's acknowledged by someone else. And it's true: I've never done things with forethought and great personal planning. I go with the flow and see where it takes me. If I don't like the ride, I get off and take a cab home. 

What's helped over the past couple of weeks has been the direct recognition and offers of moral support I've received. And while I generally find Facebook birthday wishes hokey, it has shown something I've banked over the years: people who genuinely care enough to take the time and write or call to offer their support and encouragement. Something about that helps, especially today. 

Ok then. Let's splash a little water on the face, swig down some Gatorade and work on the last half of this race. I hear the hills get bigger when you hit the 50s marker.