In a very morose frame of mind, I looked up my life expectancy online. There are a bunch of different calculators, but they all generally agreed I’ll live to about 86, which means I have about 41 years to go, which means I’ve crossed over the halfway point. I have more years behind me than ahead.
Just as a quantity, forty one years doesn’t sound so bad. When I think of how my life is so radically different over the last twenty or ten or even five years, then forty years sounds like an amount of time full of potential to do so much.
Qualitatively, though, I feel like I’m already more or less just clocking time until death. If I have a child tomorrow, I won’t live to see my child reach the age I am now. I’m not going to have a child tomorrow, because I just haven’t really been interested in kids up until now, and I’m not sure if I’ve had a change of heart. What I feel isn’t a desire to settle down, to be a parent. I just feel the possibility of making that choice fading away from me.
My beard feels different. It’s not the white hairs that bother me, it’s that in the last year or so, somehow the hairs on my chin have become more scraggly, a little rougher to the touch. I feel like two days of letting my beard grow in ages my appearance by ten years. I feel like the world sees me as an old man now.
I’ve never been a super good looking guy who attracts lots of women, but the one thing I had going for me was being more afraid of dying alone than fear of rejection, which meant I was always fairly bold about approaching women. Dating is a low percentage game, there are always more reasons why you’ll be turned down than accepted, and the only way past that is to keep taking shots, which I did. So, while I had my share of missed opportunities and failures, over the course of a lifetime, I think I’ve done okay. But I don’t feel that way about my future. I’m not who I want to be and so I don’t feel like I’ve got anything to offer, and I’ve lost the fear of dying alone. So recently I haven’t been as bold as I have in the past.
It’s not just dating. I don’t have anything like the kind of job I envisioned for myself, I don’t live in the kind of place I thought a person my age would live in, and I don’t have a history of work that I can point to and say that I gave it my best shot but ended up here because the…