It’s really been killing me that I can’t find the time to write. Writing has been such a big part of my therapy and I’ve really missed it. But where I used to have time to write first thing in the morning when I got to work, my workload is so full I just haven’t been able to justify the time.
But today is the exception. Today is my fifty-second birthday.
I’ll be honest I never expected to see myself at 52. But, then again I never expected to live past 40, yet here I am. It’s not that I really expected to off myself, I just couldn’t imagine. When I was younger 52 seemed so old. I think back to my parents and how they looked and acted when they were in their early fifty’s, and they were old. The way they dressed, the way they acted, even the way they thought just seemed ancient to me. But it was another time, and being in your fifties was completely different from what it is today. Most men had already spent almost 30 years in the same career; women had raised their children and their lives had settled in towards retirement. It was rare to see anyone that was single again, and there was no partying or going out on the town. Not in my experience anyway.
But now that’s all changed.
I’m where I expected to be in my late 20’s. Although I certainly didn’t expect to have four ex-wives and grown children. In fact, I didn’t even really expect to be married at all by then, but I was already on my second wife. But here I am; in my fif
And I have realized at last that I’m bipolar.
I think life would have been much easier if I had known and accepted the fact that I’m sick back then, instead of ignoring all the signs and deluding myself. The last two years for the most part have been an improvement from what I had gone through before. Now I’ve got more awareness, better treatments and new skills to help me cope and hopefully be able to finally manage my disease.
Who knows how it could have been? Then again, we are who we are as a result of all we’ve lived through, so as bad as it’s been, it all happened for a reason.
I really don’t know if I’m depressed or celebratory about this milestone. A big part of my mood today is melancholy and sad. I don’t want to get old. Even though I never expected to make it this far, if I look ahead to what my life is going to be like in only 10 years or so it scares the hell out of me. The abuse I’ve inflicted on myself, and continue to inflict has got to catch up to me sooner or later. My father was already getting sick from the years he spent smoking, and the last 10 years of his life, which ended at 74, were miserable. In fact, all of the men in my family have died before they’ve reached mid seventies. I have taken care of myself in terms of the hypertension that contributed to all their deaths, but I’ve damaged my body in so many other ways. I’ve indulged in too much alcohol, smoked way too much and subjected my liver to an enormous amount of medications. I’m not really afraid of dying, but I am afraid of ending my years being frail and sickly.
The chances that I live out my twilight years alone are growing more and more likely as each year passes. I’ll have my children of course, for which I’m eternally grateful, and I expect to have my Sister as well. But that’s not the same has having a life mate. I’m spending a lot of my time and energy dating at this point, but with all the issues I have, particularly with the mental illness makes it very hard to believe that there’s a woman out there who can accept me long term. No, I’m not afraid of dying, but I’m damned afraid of dying alone.
But then there’s the other perspective. I have made it this far in spite of my expectations. I’m taking very positive steps to make myself healthy. I’m learning to be happy with myself and accepting of the life I have. I have some wonderful memories and have made some incredible friends. And as I learn to manage my illness more and more, I can look forward to a much more stable life. As far as meeting a life partner, every pot has a lid; somewhere out there is a woman who can accept me for who I am. All I have to do is keep trying, and I have to believe that I’ll eventually find her.
I have skills that I’ve never had before. I have my intelligence and creativity to apply to the knowledge I’ve gained about my disease. I went through a long period where I lost my self confidence and perception of myself; but now I’m beginning to remember that I have worth. In spite of all the issues, challenges and fears I still have, the bleakness that I felt 10 years ago is gone. There is hope now. But if you think about it, birthdays are just an artificial reason to for celebration. When it’s all said and done, today is just another day in this thing we call life.
Happy Birthday to me.