Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rain, puddles, and tears (Part 1)

I always loved the rain. Rain awakens the senses. The way it pelts the ground and chills the air. How it makes everything take on that saturated sheen.

Dancing down on rooftops in a frenzy, the raindrops wash everything they touch. So thorough. So pure. And the best part is when it rains no one can tell you're crying.

How fitting that it rained off and on today....on my birthday. My 30th birthday.

Birthdays are supposed to represent the celebration of your birth, but I don't feel much like celebrating an unhappy life.

If ten years ago you told me I'd still be feeling like this, working a bullshit job, and just not where I thought I'd be in my life I probably would've jumped in a river by now.

Growing up in a poorer household, at least compared to my middle-class schoolmates, I always dreamed of being rich, powerful, and super successful. Clearly an adult now, I'm anything but those things. Not even close.

Me at First Communion. I was a goody-two-shoes even as a boy!

I always thought I still had time in my twenties. Turning thirty, I should have my shit together, right? Like the final grains of sand falling through the hourglass, it feels like I ran out of time....and options. And that's never a good feeling.

Nobody wants a nobody. A failure without any real success or major achievements to his name. A lack of focus, determination, and self-love. Will I ever get those things? Will I continue to flounder?

I have a couple friends that are several years younger with really good paying jobs. And yes, I know money doesn't automatically equate with success but they seem to be adjusting and thriving so much better than myself. I'm clearly doing it wrong.

Or am I just a late bloomer? What if by the time I finally bloom there'll be nothing left but spent petals....brittle and faded.

Out my window I see storm clouds stirring in the distance. Thank God for the rain. No one can see me crying.

I'm glad this day comes just once a year. Happy Birthday, Dean. You survived this far, I guess.


Unknown said...

Birthday's are always a time for reflection. My thirties were great! I think you will come into your own this next decade.

Happy Birthday friend...

Anonymous said...

First of all, happy birthday! Second of all, I can understand how you are feeling, and I think most people feel like that once they reach their mid twenties and on. Instead of focusing on what you haven't accomplished, focus on all the opportunities you still have to accomplish things. It's never too late, and you're going to turn 31 anyway, right? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday Dean. This was a tough read only because it sounds like it is from the heart, but you know i think most of us reflect on our birthdays but soon you get used to being who you are again. You'll find your niche in life; and anyway even those who think they have found it might go right back to the beginning because they realised that they were climbing the wrong ladder all these years. r.

Dolores said...

Dean, Happy belated birthday and for today, happy May Day. You are rich in your talent. Keep at it. It is something you love. The rest will come. Be thankful in today's economy that you at least have a job and can support yourself. I always loved the children's book by James Stevenson called "Could be worse." Borrow it from the library and have a laugh.

Anonymous said...

Happy B-day, Dean! Judging from my own experience, you will feel better the older you get! I finally realized that there is no rush, and that I can as well enjoy the path while I am walking it. Trust that you will reach your goals in time; of course, as the path changes, so may the goals!

r garriott said...

Hey Dean, I'm not big on birthdays either (beats the alternative though).

I don't know what you'll think of this, but I'm gonna say it: 30 is young. The way you feel about your life is about the same as I did at 30. I had many days where continuing on did not seem to be an option. But, I did, and, well... life's always a work in progress, y'know?

You're hardly a nobody. Lack of focus and determination? Maybe you just have wide ranging interests, and it's so hard to narrow it down. You know who I really feel sorry for, is the ones who appear to 'have it made' at 30.

Trust the universe. Trust Yourself. Everything's going to okay. Us 'late bloomers' are the cool ones, you'll see. Besides, Sheila has given you a Talisman... I'm sure that hand symbol is an "OK".

Now go paint something.

JUSTIN said...

Oh man, I feel you. Sometimes I don't why I ever bothered going to college. I haven't gone without a regular job in 15+ years! All this time off is slowly driving me mad, and then you know, just for "fun" someone jacks my ride. Fuckers. If I may make a suggestion: buy a good bottle of wine, put on your favorite CD (really loud) and just tune the world out. At least that's what I do (except I drink whiskey instead of wine. Buck up!

Carolina said...

Thank God for the rain (and for everything else...)

Dean Grey said...


Let's hope my thirties are indeed better than my twenties!



Welcome to my blog!

Thanks for the words of wisdom.

You're right. I do have to shift my thinking on what I can still accomplish rather than what I haven't accomplished yet.



Thanks for the kind message and words of encouragement!



You are so right. I do realize things could be much worse.

I guess my birthdays just bring out those negative feelings I tend to bottle up inside.


Anna T.!


I hope I have the same experience as you that I'll feel better as I get older.

Funny, I know there's no rush and yet I feel like I lost a lot of time. Like you said, I guess I have to trust that I'll reach my goals.


r garriott!

I appreciate the kind words.

"Trust the universe. Trust yourself. Everything's going to be okay." I like that!

I guess "late bloomers" do rule after all!

Oh, and I'm working on a painting right now, okay?



I think that's part of my problem. I tuned out the world so many times, literally detached myself from everyone around me, that I'm finding it hard to feel whole and complete.

Sorry, I don't drink. Will a glass of ice water be good enough?



A simple response from you that has a BIG meaning if one really thinks about it.

Thank God for the rain and for everything else.


Thanks to ALL of you for the birthday wishes! You are what makes blogging so great!

What a wonderful support group you all are!


naturgesetz said...

Hey Dean — I don't know how I missed this until today.

I had the impression that you were working your present job as a way of getting enough money so you could paint. If you want a career outside art, perhaps you need to put extra effort into that kind of career advancement, or into a career change.

When I was growing up I had several possible career paths in mind: priest, professor, or politician (hopefully U.S. Senator). I went to grad school, but realized that didn't want to do a doctoral dissertation, so stopped at my M.A. — which was not quite enough to get me a college teaching job. I went to "try out" at a monastery, where I would have become a priest, but decided that wasn't for me either. I took a job with the IRS and ended up there for thirty years — retiring when I was eligible. I could probably have made more money doing private sector tax preparation. But the government job meant that I left the work at the office and had my evenings free. That enabled me to get into local politics, and I was able to serve for 16 years on my town's Board of Selectmen (not quite the same as Senator) and after that to volunteer a lot of time to my church.

I never had any of the careers I had imagined for myself, but I did useful work and I did worthwhile things in my free time. When I came to realize that I would never have the sort of career I had wanted, I also realized that very few get to do those sorts of things and that most people end up in a career that isn't what they had dreamed about. So it was okay.

And so my belated birthday wish is that your path in life will be one that ultimately brings you contentment by allowing you to do things you want to do.

Dean Grey said...


Thanks for the well-thought-out comments!

Yes, I most definitely want to make a career out of my art. And no, the current job I'm at has nothing to do with that goal.

I'm currently working my dead-end job to help supplement my income until the day comes (if it ever comes) when I can support myself as a full-time artist.

Your career paths changed quite a bit but it sounds like you gained something from each job you took. I try to look at it like that as well.

My dead-end jobs may be dead-end jobs but I've met a lot of wonderful people working at those places so I'm always grateful for that.

Thanks again for the thoughtful words!


Jenn said...

Dean - I just found your blog today. Although I'm not to 30 yet, I'll be 29 in a few months and am certainly no where near where I thought I would be at this age.

Your post really struck a chord with me. I planned on being a high school history teacher & dance team coach, by 29 I would have been a wife and a mother.

The reality is that I am a paralegal at a great law firm, but am doing work that I am less than passionate about, I've been a wife, but clearly failed considering I moved out of "our" house after 7 1/2 month of marriage, I am still not a mother, and the one person that I have let into my life since my divorce is moving 2,000 miles away from me.

Life has been hard - and I'm sure it will continue to be hard for sometime. The only thing that keeps me going is the promise that something better is out there for me. And something better is out there for you!

Dean Grey said...

Hi Jenn!

So glad you found my blog!

Thanks for the extremely candid response.

I'm sorry to hear your life plans didn't go as planned (marriage, career, children).

I may not be dealing with those issues but I definitely understand the feeling of not being where you thought you'd be at this stage in your life.

I guess all I can say is hang in there, Jenn!

At least you got one good year left until you hit the big 3-0.

If we both keep moving the direction we actually want to go in I think we'll both do just fine.

Thanks again!