Friday, November 9, 2007

back to the future

all is quiet in the northwestern front, unless the occasional displaced rat from next door's construction counts as stirring. it seems like i have not blogged since nam. perhaps that's a good analogy since the theme of this blog does not seem to fit into the paradigm shift that seems to be taking place in my life these days. i feel like i'm living on the set of jacob's ladder, where hallucinations are the norm and visions of what could have been and what should be wrestle in front of me like punch drunk boxers waiting for the other guy to give up and fall to the floor.

don't get me wrong. life is good, and i'm nothing but blessed to be breathing in air everyday and soaking up every drop of the jackal's new found jump start theater of life. the thing is this -- i am not so sure it's accurate to say that i am reluctant to grow up. after all, it's reached the point where i don't think i have a fucking choice.

in the past couple of months i have found myself executing some truly grownup behaviors -- invited a financial planner into my life, joined a church, started work on my will, met with my life insurance agent -- and oddly enough, these things have not caused as much angst as you might expect a reluctant grownup to experience. sure, these are unchartered steps in my life, so there exists a rattle of the cage, but it does not feel unnatural. to be honest, it sort of makes sense.

you see, with a second kid imminent, i feel this instinctual need to pull my shit together, to confront all of the things that have lingered in the back of my head and to act on them. with one kid you feel like you can freelance or half-ass it, like you can still feel young and not have it all figured out. with two kids, i feel like i should have certain platforms in place so i can get on with my life and feel sort of "put together." no longer can i pretend that i am responsible for me and only me. it's almost crazy to admit that now i have to think about others. i mean, what am i going to do? i can't wring my hands and act clever or witty about it. i have to step up and put it in another gear.

okay, so let's do it. i hope i am able to get to this medium more often moving forward. i would be lying if i said i didn't miss it. the truth is that i have had a lot to say, but these internal dilemmas have been road blocking me.

all by way of saying, i'm opening the captain's log again. if there are people out there who choose to stay on board, wonderful. i am absolutely grateful for that. i get the fact that blogs are smaller versions of reality television. that said, let's find another sunset and dissect the shit out of it...

(this post is sponsored by a bottle of gigondas and 3 highballs of trustee old macallan 12 year.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"...invited a financial planner into my life, joined a church, started work on my will, met with my life insurance agent..."

What makes you reluctant is that those things are no fun. Very few people think "I can't wait until I can plan for my financial future!" Eventually we all get there but I don't think we actively avoid it. You're right that it's the influence of events outside yourself which cause the change in priorities. The same could be said for the moment you ally yourself with someone else (a non-committal way of saying marriage or similar). The "I" becomes "he/she and I" becomes "us." And every other person you bring into that unit adds complexity to every equation.

Now you're compromising for four. Weighing the benefits of each decision on each member of the family. A single person has a planning horizon about 5 feet in front of them. Married, and you might be thinking "how do I prepare for my wife's future if something happens to me?" I give it 5 years; she can't be riding my corpse for insurance payments forever!

With kids, your horizon has just quadrupled. If you want to give them every opportunity you had, and more, that's 20 years of providing for them. It's morbid and non-fun, but that's the way these questions have to be phrased sometimes. Not "how do I plan if I keep making the same income for the next 30 years?" but rather "what if it ends tomorrow?"

As a veteran of the unemployment office I'll answer your question so you don't feel the need to go find out for yourself: it ain't fun. Quite specifically, it ruins all fun. All the things that we work for in life end when work ends unexpectedly if we haven't prepared. Even worse when you find you have to sell some of the fun to keep what's left from being repo'd.

Stick with it, sign all the papers and put it behind you for a while. Check up on your plan every 5 years or so, but if you've done your homework upfront, it shouldn't be always in your mind. Then get back to enjoying the fun stuff.