Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Meaning of Life over Burritos - Part 1

So the other day I received a call from a good friend of mine whom I have known for 20 years. (Wow, I just realized I have known him for almost half my life.) He lives right down the street from where I work so on occasion we get together for lunch. It's a nice break during the week to step away and just hang out with my friend. We have been through a lot together. In high school we were in a band. There was 5 of us in total. We really created some amazing friendships from that band. We were good, but not great, but played some really great gigs. The only people I keep in touch with from high school are those 4 other guys. Some of them I see more frequently than the others, but when we get together, it's like no time has passed at all. They are part of my family.

So we went out for lunch. It was great to see him but I could tell he wasn't himself. He seemed lost or unsure. "When we were in high school," he said, "...we could go to the guidance counselor if we needed some help in figuring out where we should go to college." "When we were in college, we could talk to an assistant to guide us on our way so we could graduate." "Now we are in our mid-30's, we graduated from college, got married, had two kids, bought a house, have had three or more jobs. Now what?" Where do we go from here was the question. It is quite the juggling act when you are a coworker, father, husband and a friend. Your time is usually prioritized in that order too. Not by choice, but by necessity. Your time for you wife diminishes as soon as you have kids, and your time for friends is nearly none existent. It happens slowly, but it happens. What is even more derailing is that you become so focused on everyone else, that when the occasional opportunity arises for you to do something for yourself, you have forgotten who you are. This is not my house? This is not my beautiful wife? Where do I go from here? Do I really want to do this job for the next 30 years? Do I really want to live here? Is this the precursor to a mid life crisis? We joked that if that were the case, then neither one of us could afford the sports car. All of this sounds a bit depressing and in some ways it is, but in another way I think we are reaching a cross road in our lives. We just need to figure out which way we should be going and men are usually not very good at pulling over to ask for directions.

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