I’ve been coming to terms, slowly, with the fact that I’m middle-aged. My knees don’t bend as fast as they did. My hair is thinning, but I’m still hanging on to my widow’s peak. I have to pull my glasses off when I need to look at something really close. I’ve actually gained 6 pounds in the last 6 months–mainly around my midsection. The last time I weighed this much I was in college and had a job wrestling drums of oil paint onto and off of a stakebody truck as a summer job. Now I sit behind a desk and the best exercise I get is running up the escalator to my train.
It’s cliché, but my brain still believes I’m 28. I’ll have beers with friends and have to stop myself from drinking at a post-college pace to avoid a crushing hangover the next day. I used to think nothing of having a cup of coffee at 4PM, but now it keeps me up at night. That and having to get up and pee–I didn’t have that problem 10 years ago, either.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep up with other major changes. I’ve gone from a job where I was the sole designer to being one of two who did the work, then one of three who did some work, and now I’m hardly doing any design at all. My day is caught up in a mixture of meetings, design direction, phone calls, and strategy (roughly in that order). The skillset I’m using now is completely different than that of four years ago; on one hand this is a blessing, because I was completely burned out when I changed jobs. The mere thought of designing a website holds absolutely no interest to me anymore. On the other hand, I sit and talk to a lot of people all day when I’d like to actually be making something, and my brain is pretty crispy by the end of each workday.
I miss the thrill and pleasant grind of designing from scratch, from start to finish. I’ve worked on some new projects that have kick-started my creativity and learned new skills I’m only beginning to tap into. While my job is that of a manager who makes decisions at a reasonably high level, I’m trying to find a balance between the things I want to do and the things they need me to do. Part of this is addressed by teaching and photography, and part of this will hopefully be addressed by a project I’m waiting on the funding for.
At no time should this ever sound like I’m complaining. I’m grateful for every moment of the opportunity I’ve been given, the three years I’ve been there have flown by, and I hope to have three more exciting, productive, and challenging years ahead. I just need to rebalance the father, husband, manager, and creative to keep my soul nourished and my heart happy.