Beyond The First 40 Years

About a month and a half before I began the final year of my 30's.

About a month and a half before I began the final year of my 30’s.

It was my 40th birthday this past Monday on July 21. It went by quietly. Not exactly my intention, but it is what it is. On YouTube I posted an hour long video reflection on the first 40 years of my life with a specific focus on the odd decisions I’ve made over that time. The way I’ve done things over the years has been rather unconventional, and while, admittedly, the video kind of drags on, there are plenty of life details about decisions I made that would make you shake your head. So now, I write.

If I were to live as long as most of my grandparents I am not quite half way through this thing called life. I’m trying to get to age 126 so I can see the year 2100, but living into my 90s isn’t unreasonable. Realistically, however, I have about 30 years I can really play around with, so that means I’m more than halfway through my window of opportunity in life to significantly explore this world. I’m going to try to make the best of that window.

About 20 years ago I used to say that I’m not going to die until I’ve accomplished all the things in life that I want to do. They now call that a “bucket list” and there are some that I’ve already been able to check off, even if they didn’t exactly happen the way I originally planned. But they happened. So that means I can accomplish what it is I want to accomplish. That also means, however, I’m going to have to change some things within my life.

For far too long I have remained hyper-focused on the wrong things and have neglected so many things that would make me happier. I’ve even neglected my writing, if you can believe that (for instance, it should never have taken me seven months to write the second Ghostorian Case file when it took me two weeks to write the first), but I’ve never quite operated the way I’ve wanted to. So many times I have felt like I’m ready to burst with all kinds of creative energy only to find myself suppressing all of it for one ridiculous reason or another.  So long ago I used to not do that.

When I was a kid I would just sit and block out the world around me, writing to my heart’s content. Most of my first little stories were done at the dining room table when I was seven years old in Westfield, Massachusetts. The penmanship was rough and I included some simple drawings, but they were fun. A few years later I moved up to my mother’s Smith-Corona typewriter and banged out a few little Choose-Your-Own-Adventures, even cutting the pages to match the size of the real books. In highschool, I used study hall not only for homework but to get lost in a poetic world of song lyrics, with music never composed dancing through my head. Small books were started in a series of one subject notebooks, including a series of journals. Chase Michael DeBarlo was born my senior year of high school, and I knocked out a bunch of mini-mysteries featuring him.

Signing at the Inspired Ghost Tracking meet and greet.

Finding some time for a book signing at an Inspired Ghost Tracking meet and greet in October 2011.

Throughout my adult life, my writing has been relegated to “whenever I can find the time.” Whenever I’m asked when it is I do find the time because of how much I have going on throughout my life, my answer is always, “I don’t sleep much.” And that is true. I don’t sleep a whole lot. It’s kind of a big time waster. I’ve always wondered what it would be like if I could just dedicate my working time during the day to my writing – how much I could get done! And the quality would be so much better by now. I also mean just writing. The marketing of it is a whole other job entirely, and it does wear on me that I feel like I’m spamming the world half the time when I’d prefer my “brand” would just build itself rather than having to do all that I do to build that brand.

I want to branch out and do more with the videos, too. I’ve found that I actually really enjoy video production, even if I fight with the software half the time. I often find myself thinking I should have been in drama club back when I was in school – if I understood what drama club was at the time. (Seriously, I didn’t know that drama club was actually acting and performing in plays, so I jumped on the only opportunities I could like for foreign language festivals or the church youth group occasional skits.) I think it’s come a long way since the first Ghosts and Legends episode, and I’ve been looking into other opportunities like maybe getting into some independent films. Who knows… the world is open.

Finally, there’s traveling. I come from a family of travelers and I have been to all but five of the United States (Alabama, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Hawaii). I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing so many wonderful locations around this country, but most of that was when I was much younger even with investigating the paranormal opening a few doors. As far as any world traveling, it just hasn’t happened. I’ve always wanted to see the old world and walk through the history of the ancients. I want to see it with my own eyes, not just in pictures. I want to experience it, and I have yet to do so. Now is the time to remedy that.

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