In our politically polarized society, saying that one woke up can often get misconstrued to the more derogatory term that a right leaning ideology calls “woke”. This, in fact, is not what I am speaking of. In regard to the political use of the word “woke”, I have always been awake. Respectively. Just not in the definition of what woke means. Politically, I am firmly centered and not amused by the extreme ideologies.
As a teenager, I was a late bloomer when it came to puberty. The physical metamorphism for humans. As for thought, ideology, and philosophy, I was beyond my years mentally. Something that always confused me, and I fought ferociously against it about the time I went started puberty. Which I find odd to this day. Why? I never knew the whole why, but I felt I always knew the catalyst of it. It was to “fit in” into my surroundings and be accepted into the society I was in. Considering my diverse upbringing, I was not privileged to any extent of intellectualism, which at the time, I was not aware of its actuality. Therefore, I found myself being different. When exposed to intellectualism, a large amount of my peers would shun it and ridicule it. Never much of an impressionable individual, I still saw the need to fit into the societal realm in which I believed I was to be a part of. Therefore, intellectuals always made me feel comfortable, yet I felt I was doing something wrong communicating or studying with such.
There were other factors in my fight against myself and my mind. Child abuse, neglect, and consistent reminders from those who raised me that I would not go anywhere with my mindset. Don’t me wrong, I had some influential peers here and there, yet my overall parental support system was highly flawed. Well, much like it is for many. Unfortunately, I succumbed to the drudge of the ones who raised me. Even then, I should have still followed my thoughts and aspirations. We make mistakes, but we can overcome. Always.
From my late teenage years throughout my young adult life up until I hit 40 years of age, I lived a lie. I built a facade and lived within it for approximately 23 years. During these years, I shunned extending my education for capitalistic dreams and yearned for the quick dollar. Forcefully, I built this persona of confidence and power from a shy, soft-spoken teenager. My life and career were based on what I felt was expected of me and work endured abuses from the owner of the company where I started as a teen, who happened to be the man who raised me. It made my skin thick and taught me to never lay off the throttle. I was immersing myself completely into life that was painted for me by others. Success was how much money you had in the bank and material items you possessed. Seemed simple to me.
When I hit 30, something in me happened. I knew none of this made me happy. Questioning my existence every day became a normal. I let this trickle along into my 30s for a good while and hit a wall. The wall was my mental health which had deteriorated from being unhappy, fighting that voice I silenced in my teens, and living an utter lie.
I walked away from a lucrative career when I was 40, trying to make sense of things, as well as trying to let my heart and mind speak to me like it did in my youth. This proved to be disastrous. In terms of finances and health. My alcohol abuse had developed into an addiction by the time I was 30. When I finally looked up years past, I found a wife who only wanted a marriage if it meant the material things that came with it. Aside from that, I always was astonished at how different intellectually we were, and the few times I would pick up an actual literary work and read it or bring forth some interesting historical or philosophical subject, I would lose her interest. We divorced after 12 years of marriage. What I did not lose in the divorce, I lost due to finances and my decision to not continue my previous career. This was my fault. I knew better than to blame anyone but myself. Which still to this day is the right thing to do.
I started a new chapter with two beloved dogs and a car. Those dogs saved my life, but that story will be for a later time. During this time, I reconnected with a woman who I went to school with back in my hometown. She remembered the old me. The true me. Although, she also saw in high school when the “new” me developed and took reign. She still saw that in me as well. We were intellectually congruent, as well as philosophically, and physically attracted to one another. I remarried.
Around this time, I had decided I needed to give her the life my previous wife had materialistically. As she had never had that in her previous marriage. Therefore, I sharpened my act up and became the grinder again. It was not as easy this time. I fought more mentally than I ever had. I did this over a five-year period, after continuing my previous career, to get back to the “top”. I was miserable but got back what I lost materially and more. I was not miserable with my wife, but with my life. I was doing anything and everything to buy her love and show her what my alter ego could do. Living in a very nice custom home again, in a highly affluent area. New vehicles. You know, the American Dream. Right?
This ended right around me turning 40. Everything in my life came to a halt. Alcoholism had consumed me, my mental and physical health were in decay, and my career was what was keeping the facade going. After ending up in a rehabilitation center for alcohol abuse, things started to change. I was there for nearly two weeks. During this time, my wife brought me a plethora of books. Some really great literary works. I had not really read in decades. These books realigned my mind. Brought back my cognitive thought processes. I left that place pretty much in infancy of my real persona. Knowing it would take time, as it took time to build the facade in my teens, now I have over twenty years to unwind it and learn from it. This time, when I left the career for good, I had to leave behind a home, vehicles, and barrage of bills I could not pay. Being without a vehicle for nearly a year for the first time since I was 14 was something I needed. I went from a six-figure income to being a gas station clerk. I needed that. It was necessary.
Nothing has been easy since I made the ultimate decision to be the person I always wanted to be. Regrets are normal but cannot dictate further outcome. Now in my early 40’s, I think I might attend university for the sheer fact to be enlightened beyond the primary level of education. I am allowing myself the opportunity to understand what it is to care about myself as much as I care for my wife and animals.
In life, there is yin and yang. There is chaos and order. Without one another, there would be no meaning.
I chose to ignore my spiritual voice many years ago, though, it is never too late. Too many will look at life as something relative. You have to rely on the objective and less on the subjective. We are who we are at an early age. We allow subjectiveness around us determine outcomes too much. Being impressionable is dangerous and results in negative outcomes in the lives of many.
Instead of looking down a hole, look into the sky and across the spectrum. There you will start to find meaning.
Took me some time to get here, yet there will never be an absolute knowledge of all to one human. It is the journey to find all this knowledge that makes me smile and will continue to do so until I am part of the Earth. I just happen to be a late bloomer!
Take care of yourself, you are important. It is never too late to make changes.
2 thoughts on “Waking Up at 40”
Definitely a very thought-provoking piece!! It is prompting me to do a bit of an ‘inventory check’ within my own life! Time for growth and change is certainly needed. Keep up the amazing work you’ve got going here!!!
Pingback: The Secret of Love, Happiness, and Success. | Life Indiscreet