I am 49. This year I turn 50. When I was little, 50 was old. Now it seems like it’s barely the place to begin. I wish I wasn’t trying to make a new beginning at 50. Because it’s very hard. People don’t want to hire you because you are “too experienced” but the truth is that they know that at this age you won’t ever vest in any pension or 401K or stock plan so you are…in their eyes…a mercenary. You are working for a paycheck and as soon as something better comes along that pays more you will jump.
Actuarial tables tell employers that they make the most profits when they hire someone under 29. Most 401K plans take ten years to vest so you aren’t going to jump ship for that first ten years so it makes sense for them to invest in you and train you and move you up the ladder. The odds are that you’ll stay.
But not for guys my age. We aren’t vesting anywhere and they know it. I wish it wasn’t like that.
I wish my book had sold well this Christmas. I can honestly say that nobody who bought it was disappointed…in fact virtually everyone who read it was very deeply touched by it. But financially it was a bust. Another bust. I had hoped that my “Community of believers” here in town would have gotten behind it, but actually they never even heard about it. This baffles me. It shouldn’t I guess. I’m not famous, I don’t host a TV show and a radio show (well actually I do…sort of) and I didn’t write any of the Veggie-Tales. (Thankfully that has yet to be a part of my resume) so buying my book wouldn’t promote the general cause of the Faith, the way buying those guys books apparently did. But then again, neither of them will be sitting next to those folks in church ever again. But it would have made a huge difference in my life personally and now I am picking up more pieces. Besides the practical aspects…they are sort of family to me. At least they are supposed to be. And a big show of support would have made me feel good about these last 4 years.
And I could really use to feel good about something.
Two weeks from today will mark 6 years since I lost my home. 6 Years since I packed up a moving truck and loaded the dogs and the cat and my belongings and said goodbye to only the second home I ever owned and the only one I truly loved owning. I have never stopped thinking about that house. And that yard and those 5 acres and that big vegetable garden. I never stopped thinking about the pony and the smell of hay in the morning. Or walking at night under the winter sky and seeing the Milky Way stretching out from me to Heaven’s door. I wish I still lived there.
I was in the park today, trying to get some fresh air into my lungs to fight this terrible flu and a couple came walking by with a beautiful black and white Springer Spaniel. It made me cry. I closed my eyes and for a moment I could feel our beloved Bonnie’s chin on my lap like she used to do. I miss our dogs and our cat. I wish I still had them. My daughter wishes we still had them too.
I wish my daughter was always with me. I say I miss her terribly because there just isn't any other way to say it. If there was another way to express how broken my heart is almost every single day without her I would. But I can’t think of any.
I wish I wasn’t divorced. I don’t wish I was still married to my ex wife. I just wish I was married. I wish I mattered deeply to someone and there was someone there to make it feel like I wasn’t facing every crisis alone. Someone who would walk with me through the dark days and never complain because they care. Not someone to tell me to “Trust God” “Pray About It” or “Keep your head up”. People don’t have time for broken dreams anymore…or for broken dreamers. People…especially those who have been successful and who purposefully stay around only successful people have no tolerance for those who have fallen and failed.
I wish I could talk to my dad. I wish he'd seen my play hockey in college...or seen me graduate. I wish the losses would stop piling up. I feel like saying I wish I was home...but I don't know where that is anymore.
I wish I had a wife. A partner. Someone to bow my chest up and protect and to drop my guard around and cry. I never had that even when I was married. But I wish I had. If I had never been divorced, I would never have missed a day tucking in my daughter, or listening to her prayers, or helping her with homework. Instead I have missed big chunks of time with the most important person in the world to me. Time I can’t get back. But I wish I could. God how I wish I could.
I wish I was someone’s hero. I wish I was their hero because I was actually being heroic and not because I am their hero positionally.
I’m nobody’s hero. I’m 49, and another of my dreams has fizzled out and I’m too tired to dream again. I worked every job that came my way while I finished school and wrote that book. I installed a single window for $150, pressure washed a driveway for $200 and built a deck for $3500. If it paid I did it and in the end it hasn’t paid nearly enough. People are afraid to spend money right now and I am afraid to keep going in this job.
I wish I had an option. Right now I don’t.
I wish I was an adult in a different day and time. I wish it was the early 70’s…like when I was a boy. Or the early 80’s…like when I first went to college.
I wish my daughter could have grown up under Reagan and not…this.
I wish I had the strength to dream myself one more dream and get behind it. But I don’t think I do. I think that somehow this weekend…after assessing the dismal and disappointing failure of yet another dream that I had wanted desperately to succeed…I think I’m done hoping for greatness. I wish I could be great. But I think I’ll have to settle for survival. And I hate that. Because survival is what homeless people do.
And after all this time…after five years and all I’ve accomplished…nothing that I thought might happen has happened. And for the first time since I lost everything…I wish I hadn’t. I just wish I had it back. I wish my daughter was 9, and it was Sunday night in Thompson’s Station and I was tucking her in and taking her to school tomorrow and we were saying bedtime prayers and reading a book.
I can’t ever go back there again…
But I wish I could.