Back in March of 1980, I was born. More to the point, I was born premature. A little over 3 months premature, to be exact. 2 lbs, 15 oz., and you could hold me in the cups of your hands. I lived in an incubator for the first 45 days of my life. Several doctors, and members of my family, were sure I was going to be developmentally challenged. That didn’t happen. Physically, I caught up with children my age around 3, or so. Intellectually, I surpassed them by 4. I was reading better than the average 8th grader by 6 years of age. I was reading the materials present in college courses by the age of 10. So, intellectually, I had no trouble.
I say this because at the age of 34, I am so far behind my peers it is pitiful. At the age of 34, there are 16 year olds with more freedom, and more life experience than I have. At the age of 34, there are 20 year olds who have accomplished so much more than I have, who are just starting out on life, on freedom, with the whole world open to them. Their opportunities are limitless, their goals are bright and achievable.
It’s not that I’m lazy, I’m not. I have worked hard; so hard, to even have what little there is in my life right now. I have no job, no career, am unskilled (as far as certifications and degrees go), I don’t even have a relationship. I almost never leave the house, and when I do, it’s to run errands. I won’t go into why, but suffice to say the reasons are valid, and I have considered every method I could to extricate myself from it without causing harm to that which depends upon me, but to no avail. I have given everything I have, and it’s not enough.
When I tell you there are teenagers, likely the majority, who have more life experience than I, it’s not hyperbole, and it isn’t some kind of joke. I’m completely serious.
Sometimes, I think that life discovered that I made it, that I didn’t die upon birth, or shortly thereafter (the likelihood of preemies like myself surviving in 1980 were slim), and so has decided that even if I did manage to live, there was no way I would make anything joyful or productive of my life, because I do not have anything. Wait, I have my thoughts. I have my emotions, but aside from that, not much else. I don’t have my health, as I’m a diabetic, and have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, my heart likes to do it’s own thing at times (irregular heartbeat/tachycardia), I don’t have my optimism because years and years of solitude and servitude will absolutely and utterly crush optimism into the dirt, and grind it with its heel until there is nothing left but irrelevant particulate.
I’m sure anyone who reads this might see it as yet another “woe is me” post, but I assure you, I do think these things, and if I don’t get them off my chest, they will finish me. I have no one around here I can talk to, because who among them is going to understand the position I’m in? None of them, because none of them have ever lived it. All of my friends had normal lives where they left home in their late teens/early twenties, and went out into the world to make their own way. They’ve lived, they’ve loved, they’ve had good and bad times, but they’ve experienced it for themselves. Their hard work was for themselves, and for those they loved because of the decisions they chose to make. They have freedom. FREEDOM. They went out into the world and made it something they could enjoy, a life they could fashion their own way. It wasn’t always wealthy or privileged, but it was still theirs. All theirs.
Here I am, hitting middle age (as I tell people, I’m 34, and 35 is half of 70. That’s about right, maybe even a little optimistic, for a guy with HBP, diabetes, and other issues), and I haven’t even left home. All of my life is going away, it’s just evaporating into the air, and there will be nothing left for me, but old age and the pains of advancing years bringing what’s left of my spirit into decay with it.
Some people say, “but you’ve got plenty of years left!” and that’s just bullshit. No, no I don’t. What I wanted to do with my life did have some attachments in regards to age, and capability. As I get older, I lose some of those capabilities.
In the words of Dennis Miller, “They say life begins at 40. Yeah. If you’re the fucking Highlander.”
The 20s and 30s of someone’s life is where the building begins, so that by the time you reach your 40s and 50s, you have something. Still, all of that is for naught if there’s no one there with you to be by your side, and here I am at 34, with no one. Nowhere. Nothing. Hell, I didn’t even lose my virginity until I was 30. It’s not a race, it’s not a competition, but I don’t kid myself that there is such a thing as plenty of time, because there isn’t. “Plenty of time” is the advice people who have, give to those who have not. Never have I ever felt so alone, and such a failure, as I do now: the smart guy, the one who had his feet planted firmly on the ground, who had so many ideas, so many goals, so many dreams he wanted to make happen; the guy who worked HARD to get anything, who put all of his money, his resources, his time, into taking care of his family, into lifting others up so they could succeed; the guy who just wants a little help, someone to give a fuck and actually help him accomplish what he needs to accomplish just so he can go out and try to make it, like any other human being, someone who wants to see the world, and experience it freely, before the aches in his bones become too much of a distraction, and there’s no one. There’s plenty who will draw from me my time and energy, but no one to give anything back. I really do think life decided that even if I made it to adulthood alive, I was going to pay for it, and I believe I am.