Yesterday I was driving up the road in my rather beat up looking minivan, I was driving north on I5 on my way to the pharmacy. For those people who don't know, I5 north of where I am has maybe one, perhaps two cities that are of any size and certainly nothing as large as where I live now, Redding. The road continues with small settlements off the beaten path all the way into Oregon where it meets up with some Oregon cities. It is clear , however, while heading north of Redding that you are heading out of civilization. I reached Shasta Lake City, my stop, and got off I5 but as I approached the exit my mind paused its thought process. Even as my hands turned the wheel slightly to the right and guided my old windowless vehicle off of the freeway toward my eventual destination I was caught off guard a bit by the strength of my imagined travel onward. What if I did not get off there, what if I just kept going and going. What if, instead of stop, I just kept moving, I had what... Around a quarter tank of gas left, I had my debit card though, so I could gas up though that would mess with my already strained monetary calculations and plans. I really had the power to keep going, to just not stop and see where I ended up.
There is a freedom in that thought, a freedom that I can't really explain. Don't get my wrong, this isn't about me wanting to leave my wife and life behind me, this isn't about being unhappy where I am exactly, it is about the longing to have done more with myself. I've been to... 3 concert in my time, just 3... Well, 4 if you count a country concert when I was a kid but, I don't, I hardly remember it. Even at 4, that seems a pitifully low number. I don't go anywhere, never have. I have never even seen a real museum. This is so startling that when I went to the Turtle Bay Exploration Park and saw their small art exhibits I was so pleased to just be there that I didn't want to leave. I thought, how amazing is this... People put onto canvas or other materials a sense of how they saw the world. Some, I identified with right away, some I wondered about, but all of them I thought to myself, these expressions are amazing. The creativity, the power to just put a vision of an outlook into permanent record for all to see for all time. I have been looking for that for so very long now for myself. First, I wrote programs but, programmers are never hailed. People who even use iTunes, OS X, or Office really don't think of the immortality of viewpoint of the programmers because, well it just isn't that way. I try to write, but I am no good as a writer, so no good in fact that even friends of mine I ask to read what I have written do not, it sits there waiting - or they have and wish not to tell me. Either way, it is the same. My expressions are uninteresting but I can feel it, I can feel that inside me, ideas and viewpoints that desperately wish to be laid out.
Back to the road though, as I get off the freeway I wonder what it would be like to travel the open road. Do I want a motorcycle? Probably not, but to be able to do something and experience something. To leave a mark somewhere maybe, or maybe just to leave a mark on myself so that I don't feel so painfully dull. I want to go to China, I want to go to England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Russia... All of these places I would love to go but never will it seems. I have started to read more, to read more about the world around me and about worlds that either never happened or have long since died away. It makes me long more for the freedom to go and to experience.
Perhaps this is my mid life, is this what happens when people buy new cars and get new young wives, split families and head out on beefy motorcycles every weekend with friends? I feel old, too old and with not enough life to be this old. So, yes, I think it fits the definitions of a mid life crisis, except milder maybe... I'm not going to go divorcing my wife to get some young bimbo of a thing to make me feel 17 again. I am too smart for that, I would just feel my age even more when she never would get a reference of a viewpoint born of my generation. I don't want a motorcycle, though a Jeep would not go amiss. I don't want to leave my family for the open road to find myself. Nay, it could be said there is no self to find, but if there is, I will find it here, in my house, with my wife and family. Though it is most likely that I will find that I am largely undefined. Perhaps I just shouldn't look too hard. I have painted the exteriors of self, if I look not very hard at the outsides and visible parts the finish is nice and shiny. I should stick to that.