Category Archives: Navel Gazing

Late Bloomer

There must be something about turning 46 that causes men to question where they find themselves in the arc of life achievement, because a piece written by a soon-to-be-46 venture capitalist certainly resonates with this soon-to-be-46 year old. Maybe it's the beginning of what they call a mid-life crisis. From the piece:

most of the time I think of myself as a failure.

when I’m optimistic, I think maybe I’m just a late bloomer.

I went to college early, and found out that performing well wasn’t always based on being smart. hard work and regular, consistent effort was also required… and I wasn’t really very good at those things. I also had a lot of trouble in college with too many fun things to do… many of which didn’t involve school. I got really good at playing foosball, pool, frisbee, and going to lots of parties and making friends, but I kind of barely made it to graduation. altho I did make dean’s list later in college, I was also on probation a few times, and I spent a lot of time doing “recreational activities” (ahem) which caused a lot of pain and hassle for me, and probably even more for my family. I got through those times, but I started to think about all the things I was supposed to be, and the reality was that I wasn’t quite getting to the goals that had been expected. I didn’t become an astronaut, or an astrophysicist, or a great singer or dancer or pianist, I didn’t end up in politics, I didn’t join the peace corps, I didnt get a Phd or even a masters degree…

it would have been easy at any point in this journey to rationalize my limited success, and accept being a small cog in a bigger wheel, at likely much better pay and much less stress. but I was still hoping I had a little fire in the belly, and maybe some gas left in the tank to make something more of myself, before I ended up with just a broken spirit and a comfortable life.

I don’t mean to whine or bemoan my lot in life – I’ve been far more than lucky, and I’ve had a great time on this planet. I have nothing to complain about, nor will it be the end of the world if all I get to do in the next 30-40 years is to breathe in the air. all things said, it’s been a wonderful life.

but I’m not giving up yet.

I’m still betting my epitaph will read “late bloomer”, and not “failure”.

wish me luck 🙂

In Which I Make Fun of Myself

SNL hasn't been consistently funny for a while so I stopped watching, but I'll tip my hat to this skit.  It's funny and spot on even if they do make fun of people who have eponymous websites.  For the record I didn't double major in poetry and clowning, I never got a participation badge/trophy, I have been punched and I truly do realize I suck at most things I try to do:

Confessions of an English Major

Over at his blog John Robinson shares a great quote about English majors:

“That left a large contingent of people majoring in English by default. Because they weren’t left-brained enough for science, because history was too dry, philosphy too difficult, geology too petroleum-oriented and math too mathematical — because they weren’t musical, artistic, financially motivated, or really all that smart, these people were pursuing university degrees doing something no different from what they’d done in first grade: reading stories. English was what people who didn’t know what to major in majored in.”

Sadly the quote and some of the comments on John's post hit close to home.  I must admit that I majored in English Lit mainly because:

  • I really didn't know what I wanted to do with my life and I'd heard that English was preferable to "undecided" and that it was a good major to prepare you for various forms of grad school, including law school.  If I'd bothered to physically meet with my advisor before the day I needed him to sign my paperwork to get my degree he might have told me differently.
  • Every other major just seemed too hard.  They would have required studying and who wants to do that?
  • I kind of enjoyed proving that someone could get a BA in English Literature without even a rudimentary grasp of grammar.  Ask me to identify a prepositional phrase and I'll just drool on a piece of paper.
  • Last, but not least, it wasn't lost on me that I would be one of maybe five guys in the entire English Department at GMU. I thought the approximately 500-1 female/male ratio was great until I was called a misogynist by a member of a study group.  After looking it up in a dictionary I didn't join any more study groups and refrained from any classroom discussion involving the role of gender in literature which means I never once spoke.

And thus were planted the seeds of greatness mediocrity.

Navel Lint

Fair warning – some of you might consider this a TMI post.

My wife is constantly amused by the lint that can occasionally be discovered in my belly button.  I have a pretty significant "innie" that's proven to be a pretty efficient lint collector.  I honestly can't tell you why lint will sometimes appear, but it happens every once in a while and whenever she sees it my wife laughs at me.  When I was growing up it never occurred to me that I'd have to do regular "lint checks" to avoid being laughed at by my mate, but then again I never thought the top of my head would burn if left uncovered for more than 10 minutes either.

So what prompted this little episode of, well, navel gazing?  This post about the world record holding collection of navel lint. That's seriously strange, but who am I to judge?

Um, Yeah

Short but sweet: those who doubt God has a sense of humor need to live in my house this week. 

If you don't believe in God then replace "God has a sense of humor" with "life is anything but ironic."

When God stops laughing or irony is no longer being defined on a weekly basis I'll write a nice roundup.


Memory or Lack Thereof

I'm infamous in my family for having what can most generously be described as a crappy memory.  What?  Oh right, memory.  My biggest weakness is a memory for names, followed closely by scheduled events and/or anything I've been asked to do more than five minutes ago.  Just this morning I was in a meeting and I was talking to someone who lives in a neighborhood near a bunch of people I know and we were trying to figure out who we both may be acquainted with.  I could easily pull first names, but last names were hard to come by, and these are people I've known for years.  Of course later while driving to the office I could remember all of them, but at crunch time they eluded me.

My one saving grace is I've always been able to remember faces, and usually in what context I know those faces.  I can be in the grocery store and see someone from my gym whom I've never spoken to and know that's where I recognize them from, and often after only seeing them one or two times.  This was borne out when I took the Cambridge Face Memory test and scored an 89% (average is 80%).  Nothing to write home about, but when compared to the rest of my memory I'll take it.

I will say this in my own defense: as far as I know I've never forgotten my anniversary.  It's the least I could do for the woman who has lived with my forgetting everything from buying food for the dogs (my excuse is that they're too fat anyway), to forgetting to pick up <fill in the blank here> on the way home from work on an almost daily basis.  She's a great gal.  Now if I could just remember her name…

Just Call Us the Murphys

A couple of weeks ago we had to replace our washer and dryer, and they were installed improperly. Then we spent eight days without AC before finally getting the whole system replaced last Friday and spending a small fortune in the process. This week we find ourselves dealing with a car with transmission problems.

I sure hope the old saying that things happen in threes is true.


Since I never seem to succeed in fulfilling my new year resolutions I've decided to try listing my "unresolutions" in the hope that I succeed in not unresolving.  Or whatever.  Anyway, they are:

  • Gain weight.
  • Get out of shape.
  • Lose money.
  • Lose friends and influence no one.
  • Break everything I touch.
  • Fail miserably at everything I do.
  • Celebrate my laziness.
  • Live slothfully.

I think that covers it.  Here's to a terrible 2010!