Tag Archives: Personal

I Just Had A Birthday . . .

I just had a birthday and I realized that my life is a mess.

Well maybe that is a little harsh, but I did just turn 43. That in itself is a soul shaking event.  Most people talk about how turning 50 is a big deal, but how about 40?  Then it keeps going, 41, 42, and now 43.  I feel as lost and unfulfilled as I did 3 years ago.  Except now I am staring down that slippery slope of “it’s too late”. 

The bright side of this horrible revelation brought on by the aging process is that my professional life is good.   I have two jobs and I like them both.  I make enough money to not have to worry about food and can pay the utilities.  The people I work with are decent and sometimes even fun to be around.  It is that other part of life that is a struggle for me. That side of life that is supposed to bring you joy and happiness: the personal side.

My marriage has become stale laced with undercurrents of animosity. My social life has dried up and is almost non-existent.  Any hobbies of mine have all but disappeared.  My goal of being able to write and travel has faded into the background.  And I am 43.

Maybe it’s just a midlife crisis.

I remember when I had my quarter-life crisis.  That was an upheaval.  I quit drinking (been sober ever since), broke up with my girlfriend, and got a new job.  I moved into this little one bedroom apartment with my dog.  The rent was cheap and I still think I paid too much.  The walls were drafty, I fell through the bathroom floor, and my neighbor was a seriously strange character.  I had two spoons, two forks, two plates, two bowls, and two glasses.  I stopped by the grocery store on the way home most nights to pick up dinner and sat on the porch during the summer eating TV dinners and watching the world pass me by.  Ahh, the good old days!

I am not sure if this is what I want now.  But I have decided that I am not going to go quietly into the second half of my life.  I have declared that this year I am going to take back my life.  I am going to recreate my world.  I am going to reestablish my sense of self.  I am going to renew my life and find the joy and happiness that I have been missing.  Now I am sure I will run into road blocks and fits of depression, but I have set some goals and created a personal manifesto of change.

  • I will exercise and run more. (Today I ran 4.5 miles in 29 degree weather. It was a little cold and well worth it.)
  • I will join a running club. (Done! I ordered my shirt today.)
  • I will write more. (Started writing again last week and gave the blog a face lift.  I can’t believe it has been 4 years since I last wrote anything here.)
  • I will stay connect with friends. (I finally joined Facebook. Thinking this might help me keep in touch with those old friends.)
  • I will stand up for myself and take back my time. (This will probably be the hardest thing to do because it will cause conflict.  I don’t really like conflict.)

I know it sounds like I have just made a list of New Year’s Resolutions, and maybe I have. The challenge with these, and all resolutions, is sticking with them.  Every year the nightly news does several pieces on how all our resolutions fail and that we are really looking at change in the wrong way.  We should be making little changes that we can incorporate into our lives and not disrupt our patterns of behavior.  I get that.  But I want to go big.  I want to be the person who says, “The best decision of my life was to follow my dreams and everything else just fell into place.”  Now that would make for an epic 43rd year.

 

 

 

 


Salamanders

The weather was different that morning.  It was warmer and just the start of the fall season.  It was early morning and I was comfortable walking the dogs with just an old sweatshirt to keep the occasional cool breeze off my skin.  It was dark, very little moonlight and a patchy cloud covered sky.  You often really can’t tell cloud cover at night, but you know when it is thick because things seem darker than normal and the LED lights on the headlamp seem to struggle to light the ground.  But that morning, the light moved more freely and it reflected off the moisture of the rocks in the road. 

I have traveled this road many times before, over a thousand times perhaps.   That morning things were moving along as normal until my light glistened off a dark object near the edge of the road. 

 I approached the object slowly, mainly concerned that it might be something that I didn’t want the dogs to eat.  As I got closer, my eyes focused in on the object.  It was slightly rounded and presented the classic crescent shape of a resting salamander.  Yet it was larger than most salamanders I have seen, and much larger than the Red Efts I see on many spring mornings. I quickly realized that I was looking at a medium size Spotted Salamander. 

A Spotter Salamander photo borrowed from Maine Audobon

A Spotter Salamander photo borrowed from Maine Audobon

A Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) can grow up to nine inches long, but this was seemed closer to six inches long.  Its bluish black body had several yellow spots irregularly spaced on its back which provided great contrast in the reflection of my headlamp.  The Spotted Salamander is the largest of Vermont’s salamanders and spends most of its time living underground in mole holes or mouse tunnels.  This was truly quite a treat to see this creature in the wild.   The Spotted Salamander is an elusive animal and I have spent several early spring evenings searching for migrating salamanders in the wetland and woods around my house with no success.  Unfortunately, my excitement was short lived as I began to suspect this Salamander was dead.

I kneeled down on the side of the road.  The Spotted Salamander became circled in a beam of light from my headlamp.  I slowly reached down and touched him.  He was cold, moist, and made no attempt to move.  I picked him up and he showed the distinct indications that it had been run over by a car. I held him for a moment before I moved him off to the side of the road.  I placed the Salamander in the tall grass on the side of the road as I felt like this was the best way to show respect to this beautiful and mysterious creature.   I took a moment to let the mixed emotions of this event pass over me before I got up and continued on my walk a little more aware of the fragility of life.

Picture of a Spotted Salamander borrowed from www.wildlife.state.nh.us

Picture of a Spotted Salamander borrowed from http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us

Red Eft picture borrowed from National Geographic

Red Eft picture borrowed from National Geographic