Meditation In A Mid-Life Crisis

A rhyme, a rhythm, an incantation that landed in my head sometime in my early twenties, while bustling to the Metro through the streets of DC, after work:

What’s your situation?

Location  Location

What’s your situation? 

Vocation Vocation

What’s your situation?

Your Nation  Your Nation

What’s your situation?

Creation  Creation

It came through my head with a sort-of hip-hoppy feel and moxie (but, I’ve found over  the years, it can also sound cool with a prog rock, overly dramatic theme, heavy metal, or minimalist spoken word approach; feel free to experiment!). And it stuck in there, surfacing periodically over the years as a mindworm, a silent chant – a delivered, spare hierarchy of, you know, ‘the fucking condition, man!’ or, I guess, the template of the condition: your XYZ momentary position; followed by your daily grind or lifelong passion; up to and maybe overlapping with your Identity -your people, culture, religion; and finale-ing at Creation, that is, the underlying shit – the secrets behind, life, death, the universe, this blog post, and where your situation stands with it. (maybe?)

Now, I’m thinking, this was a message from my older self, or a momentary spark of wisdom beyond my years, that is now slowly (or quickly?! Image result for existential fear emoji) being caught up to by my actual years. At 40, these seem like more serious questions — rather than just a nifty rhyme , or something with cool philosophical undertones, or something with the potential to come out in the course of a discussion, that ensues between me and a record-producer guy that I happen to sit next to on a plane sometime, and it happens to be the perfect hook for a track he’s recording, leading to some sort of hip, literary fame…. (a person can dream, right?).

In my most questioning and self-critical of times, the steps on the situational ladder now seem more fraught, more time sensitive, more zero sum. In my best ad-copy voice: “Just FOUR easy steps  to understanding, Exactly, where you fucked things up and fell short. No money down.” OR: “Where the hell have you been on being on top of this shit, you braindead, blasé asshole!” (That second one, was less ad-copy voice, and more existential scream guy – see above)

But, it seems, those times are mostly about answering the wrong question- what is NOT my situation?

  • Now: I’m not writing and contemplating in a study, connecting deep thoughts and creativity. I’m not in the thick of anything bigand important.
  • My daily work is not a positive force in the world. I peddle information for industry, for what?
  • See above, and I’m a lot of “not-reallies” – not-really Jewish; not-really handy; not-really a sports fan; not-really an activist; not-really an aficionado of anything in particular. I haven’t found “my people” (like Michael Chabon’s son has).
  • Image result for existential fear emoji

(Man, That also all sounds very whiny). Answering to my situation more affirmatively,  though, I realize, can be more satisfying. Now: I am sitting at my computer, blogging, in the early morning, while my kid’s sleep, my wife jogs.  Soon, I’ll be a lunch-packer, a nagger, a hugger. After the kid’s are on the bus, I’ll be in an editor, a middle-manager, a remote-worker, a meeting-goer, a salary-maker. I’m a husband, father,  homeowner, baseball coach (well, assistant), a blogger (?), a writer (?), a gardener (let’s not get carried away). I feel a sense of community when I walk in the local JCC or parks. I still have underlying reverence for the ineffable in the world — and Sometimes it doesn’t completely freak me out. Also, I still might find myself at some chance, fortuitous meeting on a plane, or otherwise in the right place, at the right time, right?

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