Check-in at 43

My 43rd birthday was on Tuesday. Writing that down and seeing the age leaves me in a state of awe. Forty three is not a young age to be and I marvel at how quickly life goes, especially as you age. How could I be 43 years old already?

Regardless, I’ve settled in comfortably to midlife. I made all the right decisions and am now in a very good spot. I have a great family, we live in a beautiful and diverse place, and I really enjoy my job. There is a part of me however that is a little sad to be this age already and I think it helps to recognize that feeling. Luckily I’ve discovered a wonderful antidote which is to keep life interesting. This can be as simple as changing up a music playlist or discovering a new game to planning new international trips or rediscovering a passion such as language learning or the study of history. For me, learning more about the world and looking at international travel is particularly exciting. I can easily slip on my VR goggles and go almost anywhere in the world. I can open up Wikipedia or a new book and learn something I didn’t know before. Finally, I’m hoping to start getting away to a few international destinations here soon. The hurdles are young kids and that Japan always takes all the time and money every year. However, with flight benefits I’m sure I can get away here and there when they’re in Japan or bring them along. It is hard to convince the wife about doing anything like that though. Japanese don’t like to do things out of the regular routine and any suggestion is often met with an “Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhheh??”

I’m continuing my path towards a sort of introversion when it comes to social media and national news. Social media no longer brings any joy. I’ve seen all the pictures I need to for now, have no need to read any shared memes and certainly don’t want to hear their political opinions. I still find it amazing that some women will post picture after picture of themselves. Imagine explaining the state of social media to someone from the 80s or 90s. They would ask why someone would want to do that and wouldn’t their friends get a bit tired of pressing a “like” button all of the time? The answer is yes, and the world has gone off the rails.

Not only are people now posting picture after picture of themselves but also their children. These same people were especially reluctant to post pictures of their kids on the internet of 2001 due to a fear of pedophiles coming to get them! Now, it is a virtual flood of pictures that cannot be stopped. The quick hit of dopamine that the brain receives is too much to ignore for some people and they seek it day after day. Someone from the 80s/90s would also marvel at how outspoken people are on the internet. There is no modesty, no reservation, no filter on the internet. You’d be hard pressed to hear someone explain their political opinions back in high school, but these same people will repeat what they’ve heard on their propaganda channel of choice.

The news is also particularly depressing. In short, we have a narcissistic, crazy man as President whose cult of personality is very alluring to many. I personally think he is the perfect president for the selfish, shallow, me-first culture America has become. Obama said America was “exceptional.” Well, no, no we weren’t. We are just as decadent as any other country out there and this truth has manifested itself into the President. If a society is sick then the symptoms will eventually show and boy are they showing now. Trump is President with a lot of support. In normal times this would be absolutely shocking to any sane person. We’ve got race riots since the racism was always there but is now being recorded and shared to many viewers.

It seems to me that Obama was sort of a short term medicine for America while he was in office. He offered “hope and change.” Well, the medicine kept us all feeling good for a while, but it only helped with the symptoms and during this time the disease spread even more deeply into American society. You take the Obama medicine away and the disease rushes back stronger than ever. It is like COVID-19 is a perfect mirror to society and our current situation. The disease infecting American society has not only manifested itself in Trump but also in an actual virus of the likes we’ve never seen before.

Sticking with my metaphor of Trump being the result of American sickness I would say Democrats helped it along. The metaphor for Democrats would be a diet of fast food, cigarettes and alcohol. With all the news coming out and the connections Clinton had with Epstein and Maxwell such as traveling to Epstein’s Island and a possible affair with Maxwell I’m sure there is so much dirt there that we’ve just hit the tip of the ice burg. No wonder someone had Epstein killed. Epstein’s “suicide” is just as big of a lie as Iraq having mass destruction. It is simply another big cover up in a string of cover ups. American leaders plod along creating one mess after another and nobody really knows what the fuck they are doing but are having “fun” and lining their pockets while doing it.

And guess what type of situation we’re in now? We’ve got Biden, who also is a sleaze and lines not only his own pockets but that of his son. A Ukrainian Energy company? It is obvious he receives his paycheck for being Biden’s son. Where is the accountability these days? So although Trump is an abomination the Democrats are also to blame. Not that Hillary would take any of that blame of course. It is good the Clinton dirt is coming out and I look forward to the volumes of Trump dirt that will come out in 30 years or so. Or perhaps it won’t? At the rate we are going I imagine we could have a straight up dictator that half of the population loves.

Well, I’ve gotten off on a bit of a tangent. It is applicable though because it is hard to now have my mind filled with these thoughts. The world has become such a strange place that I want to cut myself off from national news and social media. I want to delve into international travel and study. As for America I’ve finally realized that there is no “team.” America is about individual profit and is a wonderful business. Just need to shed the lie that we were all part of a team and that is hard to do after having to Pledge Allegiance for most of my childhood.

At this age, a trickle of people around the same age that I once knew dying is starting to appear. It is like a few raindrops hitting the pavement when you know that over the next few years those raindrops will start to increase becoming a light, then heavy rain over the next two decades. Two people around the same age from my high school have died in the past month. Nobody from my class has died yet but I imagine the probability is high that at least one will in the next few years. That is very strange realization and hard to digest.

Other than death there are also divorces, family troubles and those who still haven’t found anyone. As far as I can tell, the divorces have been pretty tame compared to our own parent’s generation. It seemed like about half of my friend’s parents were divorced. Among my own generation it seems like the majority are holding together. Social media only tells one so much however so that number could be higher. There are also a number of pretty girls that I’ve known who are still single. I’ve often believed that being pretty is also a big curse. Pretty girls attract the bad guys and the girls always seem to fall for them. Pretty girls are also always looking for something better and so those that never “settle” often find themselves alone and often get a dog. I think the desire to love something is an intrinsic human need and a dog fits that role perfectly. On the overall dogs are better than people hands down so I understand this completely and my mentioning it is actually praise rather than a put-down.

As for the allure of wine and partying, I still like a good party but the price to pay for drinking alcohol has become too much at 43. I rarely drink beer and now even if I limit my intake of wine the sugars in it will not let me sleep. I hate that. Furthermore, alcohol affects my mood and I’m down for a couple of days after drinking. I don’t like that either. I’ve also been getting into really good shape so much prefer how that makes me feel than the feeling wine gives me for a few hours.

However, wine on a Friday evening while watching the sunset is also hard to turn down. Wine sets my mind free and removes the constraints set by routine thought patterns. My thoughts soar into wonderful directions under the influence of wine and I get some wonderful ideas that would otherwise not have occurred. Regardless the scales are tipping towards not drinking at all as again, there is a three day repayment for 4 hours of enjoyment and that is a heavy price to pay.

What else can I say about 43? I’m now even more of an official adult. I’m still waiting for that moment where I get my official adult card that comes with unlimited and perfect knowledge I thought all adults had when I was a kid. The more I learn the less I realize I know. However, I do feel as though I’ve got a handle on the adult world more than ever before and can point to a few specific examples.

  1. At work I deal with some very smart people at the top technology companies. I’ve become very comfortable doing this and am thoroughly confident in doing so. This comes from “deep confidence” I’ve gained from not only work experience and dealing with many different types of people over two decades but also from life and international experience.
  2. I finally have a confident handle on my finances. The stock market used to be something foreign to me but thanks to a vast array of new technology tools I can keep a pulse on the market as well as on many of the ways to invest my money. I feel so confident in this that not even the huge COVID-19 declines rattled me. There was a slight shiver maybe, but it was barely perceptible. My finances are sound and my only concern is the state of the economy in the coming years, although I’m still very much an optimist.
  3. The world – I’m starting to see much more clearly how the world works. The only constant is change and I’m in a much better mood if I just accept that things will be as they will be. Americans want to choose Trump, fine. Americans want to choose a bloody tyrant the next time, fine. That is they way of the world and through my international experiences I can always adapt and take my family with me. I have confidence in my ability to adapt and thus can release any mental anguish over things I cannot control. I’m reading The Tale of Genji written over 1000 years ago in Japan and one thing they say over and over is that “the world is uncertain.” We can plan and build safeguards and try to give ourselves a sense of security all we like, but the world will change according to its own rhythm and it is best to go along with it.

And that is my mindset on this 29th day of May in the year 2020.

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! \(^.^)/