Happy 48th birthday to me.

Today I have somehow managed to reach my 48th year and, despite all my bad lifestyle choices, I’m still relatively healthy. I’m getting to the age where birthdays start to become days of reflection which is something I’ve never been all that good at, but there are certain truths about my life that are starting to become apparent.


For example, I realize that I will probably never be a published author. At least, not of a book of any kind. Part of the reason I started my blog 14 years ago was to practice writing and, while I’ve definitely improved over the years, I’ll never be able to come up with an idea for more than a short story or two. I used to write short stories often when I was younger, but these days the inspiration comes very infrequently. I know a couple of people who are pretty big writers who seem to be able to pump out volumes of prose with little effort and who have a large fanbase, but I will never be one of those people. They are all remarkably well-read and are familiar with large numbers of other authors. I’m very picky about my fiction reading and as a result I’m not as familiar with the tropes and traditions of my favorite genre — science fiction — to really contribute anything to it. When I first had this realization it bothered me a little because it was something I long thought I would do, but these days I’ve come to accept it.

I also realize that I’ve already hit the peak of my career and will never hit that high again. In part because I will always be a break-fix IT guy. Moving up to just about anything else would require a college degree and I’m not going to get one of those anytime soon. Or it would require I go into management and I’ve never wanted that either. Despite working in a position that is perpetually considered entry-level, I’m good at it and I enjoy it. I get paid alright for what I do — just a little under the industry mean which means there’s room for raises — but it’s never going to reach a six figure level. It took 20+ years as a contractor before a company hired me directly and it’ll probably be the last one to ever do so. I wouldn’t recommend my method of career decision making to anyone and, honestly, I’ve been damned lucky in spite of myself. At this point I probably won’t be retiring unless I manage to hit a lotto jackpot.

Lastly, I’ve come to accept the fact that I will never own my own home. We came closest to realizing that goal last year and it didn’t happen and I don’t suspect I’ll be in a position financially to try again for quite some time. This is one of the few things that make me feel like a bit of a failure because so many of my friends and family have somehow managed to accomplish this, but I can’t seem to figure it out. I ended up deciding not to worry about it anymore. I have a roof over my head, there’s food on the table, and a wonderful woman that I spend each day with. Not to mention two of the best cats this world has ever seen. We seem to be able to make wherever we end up into a happy home and that’s all I really need.

My apologies if this seems like a bit of a downer, but I’m up very early today because of nightmares I had last night and I probably should’ve waited until the coffee kicks in a bit more before trying to write about my latest birthday. All of that said, I’m still breathing and there are a lot of people who seem to appreciate having me around and, in my own small way, I’m contributing something to the world. I’m fortunate to know a lot of people who have had stunning success in their career and lives and I’m often amazed at the people who stop to see what I have to say. I’ll never be a big fish in this pond we call life, but at least I’m still swimming.

Who knows? Maybe that sudden flash of inspiration will finally happen and I’ll become a huge success. Until then I’ll keep plugging along pretending I know what I’m doing.

9 thoughts on “Happy 48th birthday to me.

  1. Happy Birthday, Les! Personally, I love the realism you bring to assessing where you’re at and what your prospects are. Your realism is down to earth and totally refreshing. But it seems to me life is most often fundamentally uncertain, so who knows where you’ll be, and what you will have accomplished, in the end.

  2. Merriest of Days of Birth to you, my most amazing of men husband.

    We have a good life. Better than most. Not as “wealthy” as others. A life that provides us with what we need, a few desires and most importantly, happiness together.

  3. OH! And! I think Morgan F. would happily utter “mf-er” whenever needed in his narration without pause.

  4. Happy birthday, Les! Odd that I didn’t realize after all these years that your birthday is the day before mine.

    I’ll be 53 tomorrow, and have been following your blog almost since the beginning. I started mine at the end of 2002 and a friend pretty quickly turned me on to yours; the name itself was a great lure. You’ve had a link at my site ever since.

    I owned a house once. I lost lots of money when I had to move on. My late wife owned a house, and she had to walk away from it because the mortgage was underwater. Four years later the mortgage company still lets it sit, unsold and unloved.

    When I started my blog I was at the pinnacle of my career. I had been edged into management and that (along with several other powerful stressors) pushed me over the edge. I fell off the wagon and 13 months later lost my job. It wasn’t just the pinnacle of my career, it was the end.

    This is trying to turn into a blog post of its own, so I’ll just sign off by repeating my salutation, “Happy birthday, Les”, and adding my thanks for sharing with us over the years.

    Long may you write. If you are happy with your job and perform it well, stay there. And don’t feel like you have to own a house. I rent a sweet little cottage in the middle of a National Forest and it’s great. Don’t even have to mow my own grass.

  5. Thanks for the good wishes everyone. It’s been a nice, quiet day. I took yesterday and today off for a 4 day weekend. I was up awful early, though, so I’m debating taking a nap.

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