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Tag: musings

Five Decades

It’s been a long time since I was a fan of celebrating my birthday in any meaningful way. I don’t like the attention or the pressure that comes with it. I would much rather enjoy a quiet day doing the things that I love with the people I love to do them with.

This year is stranger than usual with the worldwide COVID-19 crisis and the fact that I turn 50. The big 5-0.

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

The Party That Didn’t Happen

My wife, wonderful human being that she is, threatened to organize a big party this year like she did when I turned 40. I just smiled and told her that I know whose aid I would enlist when the time came to do the same for her. Though the pandemic hasn’t done anything to help my state of mind, at least it got in the way of a dreaded party held in my honor. 🙂

UPDATE: Instead of a party, she has done something amazing. “For your birthday since I can’t throw you a party. I have organized a 50 messages/memories for your 50th. I have asked family and friends to send pics/video messages/special memories of you!!” — I have seen pictures (and videos!) of faces I haven’t seen in years and years, not to mention getting to hear from some wonderful people.


I’m only half joking about parties. About the only “birthday” thing I remember looking forward to from my youth was being able to “play hooky” on my birthday with my Dad. We would go fishing. He would call it “fishing fever.” Often we would take my grandfather with us and just have a pleasant day.

But this year is different. Five decades is tough to wrap my brain around.

Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

Diving Deeper

My mind is wired for books, games, movies, music, and television — I’ve always been attracted to anything with a story I could create or consume. I saw a sign on the side of the road recently that made me ponder some of the bookmarks along my five decade journey so far.

Note that these are in no clear order of precedence — just in the order in which they emerge as I write this post.

  • Decade 1 – NASA, the Six-Million Dollar Man, Space: 1999, Star Wars
  • Decade 2 – D&D, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Take Five (Dave Brubeck), Spyro Gyra, David Sanborn, Huey Lewis and the News, The Last Crusade, Aliens, Icehouse, the Nylons, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Erasure, high school, jazz band, college
  • Decade 3 – Moebius Adventures, technical writing, Depeche Mode, The Matrix, The Fifth Element, T2, Ren & Stimpy, Batman TAS, X-Men TAS, Animaniacs, Indigo Girls, Fiddler’s Green, Red Rocks, Robert Jordan
  • Decade 4 – loss, Ev, kids, Phoenix, remote work, Iron Man, Gladiator, Game Knight Reviews, work, V for Vendetta, so many book/movie/music reviews, Jonathan Maberry, Harry Dresden
  • Decade 5 – Aliens & Asteroids, writing, work, Avengers, Iron Druid, Mira Grant, Larry Correia, Alan, my girls growing up, crossfit, Italy, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic

I’m sure there are other things. These are impressions… feelings… random thoughts. And yet, so many memories.

Now let’s see if we can do another few decades to add to this, shall we?

Thank you to everyone who has dropped me a message via text, phone, e-mail, or carrier pigeon!


Staying Positive in a Whirlwind

Mid-life crisis or not, it doesn’t change the fact that my life is caught in a perpetual whirlwind of commitments. School events. Soccer. Street Petz. Work. Crossfit. And then I get whatever’s left, though there usually isn’t much left.

So how do I stay positive and cheerful in the midst of the howling tornado raging around me? Damn good question.

Here’s a few things I’m working on and a few others I want to do more frequently.

Gratitude. I’m working on getting a bit of gratitude practice into every day. Some days it works. Some days it doesn’t. Some days I forget. But focusing on the things that go right rather than the ones that don’t definitely helps a bit change the narrative from “today was a shitty day” to “this happened and it was a good thing.” A subtle shift, but an important one.

Endorphins. Honestly I think without the endorphins released during Crossfit workouts I’d be in a lot worse shape than I already am — literally and figuratively. I can tell on the days I don’t work out that something is missing. Pushing myself physically releases a great natural high that I have come to enjoy and depend on for a boost during my day. I just wish my body (and schedule) could handle working out daily vs. the 3-5 workouts I fit in already.

And yes, I’m aware that sounds a bit like an addiction. But isn’t a healthy addiction preferable to other ways to get a high?

Escape. I love reading a good book — especially what I term “bubblegum” fiction. Those are the stories that are just fun to read and don’t require a ton of extra thought to comprehend. I enjoy media in that same way, preferring stuff that entertains me and gives me that escape. Unfortunately I watch far too much TV (it’s an easy trap) and catch far too few movies (more difficult to squeak into the schedule). And I don’t spend enough time enjoying good music the way I used to.

Perhaps it’s time to adjust media consumption a bit more.

Creativity. Writing. Yes, you knew that had to come in here. I need to do more. Some is personal, like this drivel. 🙂 Other bits are for games I’m working on. And I’d really like to get back to trying some fiction. I’m awful at it, but it only gets better with practice.

Same with drawing. At some point in my childhood I decided I was a crap artist and just… stopped. I want to start again to entertain that part of my soul again.

Music. That would also be good. My guitar is collecting dust. I thought by leaving it beside my desk it would get more use… Nope. Time to clean it up and warble along slightly out of tune again.

And games. Damn I forgot how much fun it is to play a role-playing game on a regular basis and guide the story. Doesn’t mean I know where it’s going to end up. This is collaborative storytelling, folks… A group of people enjoying a shared tale and seeing where it goes. Never tried it?  You should! Even crazy things like Cards Against Humanity can really liven up an evening and raise the laughter levels.

Do you notice how a lot of these activities are solo? That’s the introvert in me and why I’m so thankful for the ones that aren’t. When I lived alone, I spent a lot of my time lonely. Now I’m hardly ever lonely because I have a family and friends. But crossfit and gaming are not solo activities and have pulled me out of that realm. Sharing some of these other things may do the same.

So how do YOU stay positive and cheerful in the maelstrom of your lives? Curious people want to know (read: me!). Leave comments!

Mid-Life Crisis Ahead?

Mid-life crisis. It’s a term that gets thrown around quite a bit. Ever had one?

I’m not sure mine qualifies, but let’s examine the facts and look at a few key moments. Somehow, I think I’ve been an adult for my whole life.

Here’s the “More than you ever wanted to know about Fitz” portion of this post.

I’ve been working since I was 16 and only had one break around 1998 or 1999 when I took an unpaid month-long sabbatical from work that only lasted two weeks. Put everything I owned in storage and drove through New Mexico, Arizona, California, Utah, and Wyoming on that trip. Had a good time in Taos. Saw the Meteor Crater in Arizona. Made it to the beach in San Diego. Stayed at the Luxor in Las Vegas. Saw the Great Salt Lake in Utah. But got bored and decided to return home. Traveling alone wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Moved into a new apartment across the street from the old one I’d vacated a month prior and settled back into my same old job. True story.

Then my best friend, Sean, passed away suddenly in a car accident. My world changed overnight. When I turned 30, I dwelled obsessively over the fact that I was moving past the age he was when he died. It was a difficult situation made better by my then-girlfriend at the time, Ev, and my good friends Dino and Kevin. We went to Vegas and had a blast. And that was the trip where the “Rainman incident” occurred at a Blackjack table as a highlight of the trip.

A few months later, I was married and a few months after that we had our first child and moved to Arizona. In little more than a year, my entire life changed dramatically and I was just catching up.  With a new child, a new wife, and a new life in a state where I knew nobody at all, I was cast adrift for a good while. It eventually settled down, but those first couple of years were a bit rough.

When I was 35, we had just moved back to Colorado Springs and I was living alone in the house we had just purchased, waiting for the rest of the family — Ev, Mickey, and newborn AJ — to get here. It was a bit of a dark time, but was brightened when they arrived and we began settling in. More craziness as we got our bearings and school started for both of them.

But over the next few years, working from home, I became more and more isolated. By the time I was 42, I was overweight enough I could have gone one of two ways… Continued on the trek I was on and likely eaten myself into an early grave, or achieved control of that part of my life and start crossfit. I did the latter in 2013. Thank goodness I did.

Now, I’m struggling again. Work isn’t fulfilling me like it has for a very long time. And in the last year I rediscovered my love for writing and playing games. A lot of that came as I opened up, gained confidence, and got fitter through crossfit.

Seems that every few years we get a major shake-up that puts the crisis on hold as we regain our bearings. The last one was 11 years ago. It’s been a while.

And now I want more for myself again, which is weird. More fulfillment? What a concept.

Plus I can see the writing on the wall as far as major changes down the line. Mickey will graduate high school next year. AJ four years past her. That’s five years until empty nest begins. What will we do then? Ev will likely still be going a million miles an hour in 18 directions at once. And I’ll likely still be holding the line.

I’m just not sure holding the line is enough any more.

Actually I’m pretty sure that it isn’t.

But where do I go from here? Adulting is hard. Need the corporate gig unless we suddenly win the lottery.

Yeah, maybe it’s a mid-life crisis.


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