I’ve been musing about this quite a bit lately, not just this morning. The age thing. A quick look at my driver’s license confirms it — I’m turning 60 years old on Monday. There was a time, and it doesn’t seem all that long ago, when 60 seemed way off in the distant future. Suddenly that distant future is here. Now what?
What do I have to show for these first six decades? Materially, not much. I’ve never been very smart about money. It’s probably safe to say most guys my age have been far wiser financially than I have. They devoted themselves to careers, built up a nest egg, and have some degree of comfort to look forward to. I’ve never been that interested in money. I’ve never been willing to sell all my time to someone in exchange for the security of a paycheck and a pension. I’ve always valued experiences and trying different things and spending time in wild places more than money, and I’ve had a life full of that. In that sense I’m one of the richest people I know. I wouldn’t trade places with anyone.
I’ve done many different jobs over the years, but for the past thirty years or so my main trade has been as an offset press operator. When I needed to put some money together I’d sign on with a print shop, run the small presses, shoot the layouts on a process camera, develop the films, strip the flats, make the plates, and run the jobs. It was good work, jobs were easy to find, and it paid reasonably well. That’s all changed over the past several years with the advent of the digital age, and guys like me are quickly becoming a relic of the past. I’ve stopped in to several shops to inquire about work and the owners just shake their heads — some of them haven’t run their presses in weeks. There’s simply little demand for what I do. That leaves only one option. Learn something new.
I also find myself getting more jealous of my time as I get older. I’m a lot crankier about what I’ll give my time to. For me, the future lies in photography and blogging. I need to make that work. Whether I do that by concentrating my efforts on this blog and making it interesting again, or by starting a few different blogs on different interests I have remains to be seen. On one hand I’m a little leery of relying on only one site, but at the same time I don’t want to spread myself so thin I can’t keep it all going. Either way I’ll have to treat it as a more or less full-time job and either make it work or die trying.
I can always flip burgers or some such thing now and then to keep some income coming in, but I don’t want that to eat up all my time and energy. I need to find a place to live. I’m still staying with my ex and my daughter, but that can’t go on much longer. Tensions are growing. These days I’m doing almost all my blogging at the library. I can live in my car for awhile if I need to, but that’s not a long term option. I’m not posting this simply to grumble and vent. I’m at one of those proverbial forks in the road, and any thoughts and ideas and possibilities and insights you may have are most welcome. They’re more than welcome. I need them.
What does all this mean? Not much, except that I’d better get my ass in gear and make this incredible thing called the internet work for me. I’ve had some minor success with it over the last couple of years, but I need to kick it up a few notches. I have much to learn for the second half of my life.