Permit me a bit of introspection. At nearly this very moment two score years ago, I emerged from the womb, was slapped on the rump, and proceeded to empty my bladder on the obstetrician. (You try riding around for nine months without a potty break.) Some might suggest that my response to an apparent insult to my person established a pattern that continues to this day.

My fifth birthday party featured an American flag cake. The frosting on the field was so deep blue that it prompted worried calls the following morning from the mothers of my friends. One of my birthday gifts was a ride on a Santa Fe train from Bartlesville to Copan.

The 10-year party was a bowling party, just like the year before, with ten classmates or so at Tiffany Bowl, known nowadays as Plaza Santa Cecilia.

I'm pretty sure I didn't have a party at age 15. And at age 20, the occasion was commemorated in accordance with fraternity tradition -- the freshmen captured me and threw me fully clothed into the shower. The last party I had was at age 30 when two couples from church came over for dinner and board games. Of course, there's always some sort of low-key family celebration -- Mom makes a favorite dinner and frosted angel food cake.

As my fourth decade comes to a close, I notice that most of my aches and pains cannot be traced to an injury -- it's all down to wear and tear. Acne hasn't completely abandoned me -- would have hoped for a few clear years after that had gone and before warts and ear hair made their debut. The head of hair is largely intact though thinning, but majority status has shifted from the browns to the greys, and there's a good patch of white in the beard. Lots of things crinkle and pop when I move. At least, thanks to the Atkins diet, I am lighter than it says on my driver's license, although I wouldn't claim to be in shape.

I have lived my adult life inside out and backwards. When I should have been exploring the world after graduation, trading on my freshly printed MIT diploma, I came back to Tulsa. When I should have pushed on for a graduate degree or two, I rested on my laurels and enjoyed earning money instead of spending it on tuition. When I should have been taking risks and changing jobs, I stayed put -- seven years with one company, and now over 10 years with another. At an age when my parents had a 16 year old and a 13 year old, my kids are 7 and 3. I played it safe when I could have taken some risks, and now I find myself wanting to be adventurous, but at a time when I ought to be more risk-averse.

I have no more idea today what I want to be when I grow up than I did when I left college, but I'm busier than ever. The other day I told a friend that I'm not living a "purpose-driven life", just a "driven life." That needs to change.

For all that, life is good, and God has blessed even through my doubtful decisions. In his providence, I'm exactly where he wants me to be.

I'm beat, short on sleep, so I'll sign off for now.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 11, 2003 1:13 AM.

Taxpayer abuse down the 'pike was the previous entry in this blog.

Four-Oh, continued is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]