“He’s gonna be late for his life.”

 “He’s gonna be late for his life.”

That’s what the announcer said. He wasn’t talking about me of course, only making a general statement about some  less than successful folks, but this has been resonating in my head for the better part of the last week.

We live in an a.m. world, and I am a p.m. person. I didn’t choose to be this way, it’s just how I’m wired. Always have been. I come by it honestly. My Mom is a p.m. person. My Grandfather was a p.m. person. Just never big fans of morning...

This can be, well no it is a problem in an a.m. world, which let’s face it is the world we live in.

Very often, I am late in the morning. Usually I can make an early tee time or hockey tournament game. Beyond that, don’t hold your breath. I’m never “really” late of course. Just enough to rub the morning people the wrong way. They look down their nose, unapprovingly, shake their head, make me feel about “this” big and I vow that I’m going to... I’m gonna change.

“I’m gonna.” There’s that phrase again. That nickname my parents tagged me with when I was a kid. I don’t like that phrase, that name at all.

Still, I have a lifetime of I’m gonna, and last week I couldn’t help but wonder:

“Am I late for my life?”

As fate would have it Netter and I ended up spending last weekend away. Well, technically we were still in town, but her company’s annual meeting was being held at the Easton Hilton. We decided to take advantage of the room supplied by her employer and take a mini-weekend. As it turns out we both spent more time working than playing, but it was the time away, out of the ordinary routine that made the trip important.

Fancy digs like this can make one’s mind wander, and wonder what could be different...

I spent a lot, a WHOLE LOT of time thinking about things I have and haven’t done. Accomplishments and failures, dreams realized and unfulfilled, projects, stressors, “what ifs,” could haves, would haves, and should have beens... Some things I hadn’t thought about in years, others are on my mind every single second, of every single minute, of every single hour, of every single day. The fog can get pretty thick sometimes. 

I needed this time to find a way to see through.

One thing screamed at me.

Every failure, every shortcoming, every “not yet accomplished” came back to one set of factors.

I didn’t know how. I didn’t know who to ask for help. I was afraid of what might happen if I even tried.

Kinda sad really eh?

To add to my melancholy, while I was going through all of this “self-examination” my wife was enjoying one of the high points of her  career, at least from my point of view. Her skills were in demand, she was needed everywhere she went, folks could not have spoken more highly of her when she introduced me to them throughout the weekend.

As I schlepped off to work myself yesterday, dressed in my sweatshirt and jeans I said goodbye to Netter and her co-workers, in all their professional attire, I was very happy for and proud of my wife and all that she’s accomplished in her career. At the same time, I was never more sad for myself.

Pretty selfish I know.

Fortunately, the fat lady has not yet begun to sing.

Keeping in mind my 3 words for 2011, I’ve decided to take some decisive action. Today, I made an appointment to talk with a job coach, someone who can help me identify what it is that I do, what it is that I’m good at, what I bring to the table and help me find a career where I can feel as valued as my wife is in her job, where I can feel the same success, the same sense of fulfillment.

I love my library, but the truth is I haven’t had that there in quite some time.

I’m also publicly appealing for someone to help me with our finances, to give me an honest objective viewpoint of the mess we are dealing with, listen to my ideas for straightening things out and tell me whether I’m crazy or if I might be onto something. I have another post I’ve been working on about the budget. It’s probably the next post in fact, but for now - this is my public appeal for help.

Of course, health is also one of my 3 words, and I am hopeful that working on the 2 things above will also help me to begin to improve on that as well. I can't help but think that losing the stress from words 1 and 2 will help an awful lot with the 3rd.

Yes, I said "HELP."

I hope I’m not too late.


Liz said...

Hey Jim. I'm a p.m. person too. Thankfully, I can get to work at around 10:00 (and generally do), without too much bother. But I know that feeling you get from the reaction of the a.m. people. You're not alone there.

In the absence of my own family, I had a similar conversation with my mom this morning about health, the gist of which was something along the lines of, "I don't know what it will take to convince you that you need to take better care of yourself, and find healthy ways to alleviate stress." You still have time to change things, and I think everyone deals with these big life questions to some degree. Know you're not alone there, either.

Jim Brochowski said...

Thanks Liz, I really appreciate your note. The a.m. people can be kind of mean can't they. ;-)

I know I'm not alone, though I'd be lying if I didn't say I sure felt like it sometimes. I'm counting on having time. I just have to that's true. At least they won't be able to say I didn't go down fighting eh?

Liz said...

More superior than mean, but yes. If I know you you'll go down fighting. Pretty sure you'll figure it out before then, actually (hope I do, with my stuff, too). :)

Julie said...

You know I'm a night owl too. I am not a fan of those chipper morning people.


Now I totally get what you are saying about your three things--I need to work on those three too. But I want you to focus on something great you have accomplished. Something that you probably don't see as something you have "done", but trust me you have been all over this.... You and Annette.

Go hunt down K and D. Hug them and smile and know that you have raised some really great kids. That's some damn fine work there!


Julie said...

Oh, and I was late for my own wedding. (not my fault--really!) And my mother's funeral. Again not my fault--hugely pregnant people have to pee all the time. This includes before the funeral procession leaves from the church for the cemetery. I'm sure that somehow, I will be late for my own funeral. Feel free to arrive late if you outlive me--we will laugh at the joke together.

Jim Brochowski said...

Yes Liz. Superior is the absolute correct term. I also hope we both figure out. Here's to our good fortune. :-)

Julie - Every time I talk about this I hear about how great the girls are, and what a good marriage I have and honestly that is just way off the mark in this circumstance. I know those successes are mine, and I own them. I know that part of the reason I don't have a boomin' career is because I made trade offs for the sake of being a Dad. Knowing those things, remembering those things doesn't help the issue here. My next post will talk more about the money and how that came to be, but the career struggle, the sense of value that I'm trying to convey - I don't know that I can post that. I don't know that I can put that into words. I do know it has nothing to do with being a Dad or a husband.

Julie said...

Trust me, I really get the career thing. I often feel like a hamster running on a wheel--what am a doing here? Why can't I get a supervisory position? Should I explore training for what I want to be when I grow up? Is it worth it after putting in 30 years with CML (but not all those paying into PERS). I am tired of getting shot down for position after position. Do I really want to invest in a job swap to make myself more "marketable"? Should I just bag it and mark time until I can retire?

See, I really do get it.

I brought up the girls because when I get in a "what the hell have I accomplished/what should I do" funk, I look at my girls. I may not be a supervisor. I might not be where I thought I would be. But they help me center myself so I can quit doubting myself and have faith that I can do anything I set my mind to. We tell our kids all the time--you can be whatever you want and I will stand behind you. Sometimes we forget that they will stand behind us as we do whatever we want to do. That was more what I was trying to convey: You have accomplished these 2 great things; you can do whatever they hell you want with your life. And no, I don't know where you can find that road, but if you find it--let me know!

Love you little bro!