There is a popular Pennsylvania Dutch saying, "Vee grow too soon oldt, und too late shmart." Like a cocky dickhead, I was very fond of that saying when I was a kid. I believe both my father and grandfather used to pound it into my head until it became mental muscle memory -- like saying "You're welcome" after someone says "Thank You." Just like a previous post, "Born in the USA" Made Me An Asshole, I am struck by the complete ridiculousness of not just my fondness for this phrase as a child, but the litany of lunacy that has come out of my mouth over the years.
What got me thinking about this? Mid-life crisis. No, dear readers, I am not going through a mid-life crisis of my own creation. But I do believe that I am in the midst of one. 2018 will go down in my history as one of the most destructive and creative years that I can recall. It is the year that this blog was born. It is the year that the very bedrock of my foundation was shattered into dust and I was left to pick up the pieces with the help of some very, very, very supportive people in my life.
When I got divorced from HPV, I went on a little bender of sorts. I suppose I was making up for lost time. Since I was "so far ahead" of my peers at the time, I called it my mid-life crisis. I had no plans on life after 40, as it was a shimmering pipe dream distant in the future that I had no realistic shot or desire of ever realizing. So I lived that time like what I thought a middle aged man would do. I was 26 fucking years old. There is a scene from Good Will Hunting that haunts me constantly. Will and Sean on the park bench. Sean tells Will that he's just a kid and that Will doesn't have the faintest idea what he is talking about. Sean mentions Michaelangelo and that Will can spout off all of these facts. But that he doesn't know what it feels like to look up at the Sistine Chapel. He goes on to talk about women, war, love, and loss. In 1997, I thought I understood what Sean meant. I would be a complete dickhead at 44 to say that I finally understand what Sean meant. I guess I have realized that I may never fully understand what Sean meant.
I have often called The Sane One my keel. The depth of her support prevents me from tipping myself over in maniacal kamikaze charges into the jaws of potential greatness or madness. We had a conversation last night and I told her something and I don't think she quite understood how immensely I felt it. I said that I could not imagine what it is like to go through what we have gone through this year from the eyes and perspective of the one watching someone you love go through it. I don't know what it's like for her to watch this happen to her husband and best friend. I know this is hard on me, but I do not even for a moment believe I know how hard it is to watch it happen. She has grown smarter much sooner than I have. And there are others in my life that have done the same thing.
A highlight of my week is my Monday afternoon call to my parents. We had an amazing call yesterday about some of the issues that many adoptees go through and why I was spending so much time advocating and working on behalf of this demographic. We now have an honesty that has never existed before. I cannot imagine their fear and concern as I told them that I am flying back to Korea for the second time next week. I don't know why it took 37 years to have the relationship I have with my parents now, but I can tell you that the years previous when I said it wasn't important to me, well that was one of the biggest piles of shit I've said, and I was far too stoopid to understand that.
I'd like to stop saying dumb things, but I can't seem to help it. Because, despite all of the indications to the contrary, I think I'm probably one of the dumber people you will encounter. I'm not smart enough to get out my own way. I put myself in impossible situations to see if I can extricate myself. In spite of my academic achievements recently and the list of things that I have done in my life, I find myself coming back to the PA Dutch saying I have uttered hundreds, if not thousands, of times before. We grow too soon old. I think I am crushing it on that basis. Too late smart, I am starting to wonder if I ever will achieve that status. The sad thing is that I can't even use youth as an excuse for my impertinence. Maybe we are cursed to never become smart. I sure as hell am not going to give up on trying, though. And so maybe I am not in a mid-life crisis after all. Maybe I am just weathering a series of difficulties that make me a hell of a lot older and marginally a little smarter. Perhaps I look back on this blog in my 60s and excoriate myself yet again. I seem to have a very good track record of saying things that merit that scrutiny.