I have my birthday coming up in a few days. My birthday doesn’t mean as much to me anymore as it did when I was in my youth and early adulthood. I’ve made my peace with the fact that I’m not going to get younger or stronger as I age. I accept that things on my body are going to start wearing out. I’ve even accepted that I may become forgetful and not have as rapid mental recall as I did in my younger years. But this mental illness has become easier to manage than it was even five years ago. Even my current problems aren’t overbearing like they were years ago. Now they are irritable occurences that I just deal with until they pass by. I really think my mental illness is easier to deal with now in my late 30s than it was when I was in the prime of my health.
I don’t worry about getting older. I actually welcome it. I’m not really that nostalgic about the past and I really don’t have that many regrets about my past. I avoided all the major mistakes and learned from the minor ones. I’m not tied down as much as many people I know. I know people from my classes in high school and college who have gone through divorces, stuck in dead end jobs, paying off massive debts, in unhappy marriages, have addiction problems, and generally not having a very good time in their thirties. My only true problem is I can stand to lose about 100 pounds. I’ve already lost at least 25 pounds since New Year’s. All I really did was give up fast food, give up most sugar, give up most bread, and drink only water and coffee. Even my chronic back pain is gone. I do occasionally allow myself thin crust pizza, but I go heavy on vegetable toppings when I do.
As cool as my college years were, in spite of the schizophrenia, in some ways my late 30s are even more amazing. I stay in contact with my college friends via facebook and instagram. I have all the music I spent a small fortune on in my teens and twenties for free on youtube and spotify. And I even listen to some of the newer material that comes out too, not just what I grew up with. When I was a teenager I promised myself that regardless of how my life or career turned out, I would never allow myself to become a bitter old man. That’s why I don’t complain about the “lousy kids” or pine for the “good old days.” I do have a few regrets, but the big one (not having much of a relationship with my brother), even that can be reversed once he and I start to put the effort into it. We may not talk much, but that isn’t because we hate each other. We just have totally different lives and day to day experiences.
I may not have dated many women, but I did have some roller coaster ride romances I don’t regret. I asked out all the women I had crushes on in my life, got turned down by most of them, but I’m not wondering ‘what if’ about the one I let get away. Just because I asked was a victory in some regards. I’m glad for the dates I had, even the really lousy ones. I don’t regret being stood up by women, or being rejected, or watching one woman I liked date one of my close friends. And I don’t regret being unmarried at this point in my life. I definately don’t regret not paying alimony or child support. If, at some point down the road, I do meet my forever instead of my usual until whenever types, I’ll consider it an added bonus. But I am not worried about being an old man and alone. By the time I get to be an old man, I may have a robotic assistant that does everything that a professional care giver would anyway. I’ve lived 38 years at this point and experienced some cool things. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.