Last month I had a birthday - not one of the Big Birthdays ending in a "0", but one of the intermediate ones. Significant enough that for some reason, I have been in a funk ever since.
It is not like anything has changed, of course. Just because the day advanced and thus the year, it is not as if everything has completely end. My body did not magically fall apart. My skill set seems to be as useful as it ever was.
And yet, inside of me, it feels as if something has changed.
Part of it, I suspect, is the hard realization we all come to when not only are we heading downhill, but we are picking up speed. And yes, while in theory life could end at the end of the post (hopefully not; I still have other things to do), the statistical and historical gene pool suggest I have 25 or 30 more years, if I am lucky.
If you look at it, it is not really a lot of time.
But even that does not seem to be the real issue. What seems to be nagging at my soul is if I have spent - and will spend - my life in the correct way.
The past is gone, of course, and whatever has happened there has happened. That time, energy, resources, etc. can never be recaptured. But in the relatively dwindling future - somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 hours not inclusive of leap years of course, which might get me another 200 hours or so - I still have choices and options. Am I making the most of those?
It becomes like doing an inventory of your house, except with your interests and your time: What do I have in this closet or drawer? What am I doing with it? Why did I buy it in the first place? Do I really need to keep it? Will I use it again?
We always have a predisposed bias towards that which we have invested in, the "sunk cost". Sometimes the sunk cost can have involve years of our lives and thousands of hours (let alone money). Knowing what we know now, do we still continue to invest in them? And what about those things that we have clung to for years and years, ways we have defined ourselves - "I am a writer, I am an athlete, I am a <fill in the blank>" - yet we never seem to make much progress. Does there come point where our ability to progress is obvious to everyone but ourselves?
As usual, I do not really have answers to any of this - although to be frank with you, looking at that amount of hours left is shocking to me. All I do know is that pretend or not, life continues to move on (and dwindle, in this case) and too often we feel we have all the time in the world.