State of the Otis at 35
(Houston, TX)–I think I actually said “Wha?” out loud when my alarm went off at 5am today. I think I actually used a Scooby Doo voice. I was kicked out of a dream where everything was weird, but I was really happy, and that was just fine with me.
It was dark on Mt. Otis and cold enough to freeze the dew to my windshield. I showered and shaved, couldn’t find a couple things I looked for, and left after giving the family a quick peck. We’re back in the routine now. Leaving is normal again, as long as I promise to come back. I always do.
Nobody on the road at that time in the morning is especially happy to be there. I was no exception. I was leaving a cold place to go to a warm place. The kid asked if I was going to swim with the dolphins. I said, “No,” and didn’t say I wasn’t even sure if I’d see the ocean.
On this, my 35th birthday, I’m headed to a resort about half an hour from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It’s another poker tournament. Dozens will play, several will win, one will be a champion. I, along with a partner, will chronicle it with as much enthusiasm as we can muster. We will avoid the term “loss-leader” and look forward to the event’s end. Because I hate Christmas music and I’ll be in Mexico, I’ve vowed to drink tequila anytime a band, DJ, or Muzak plays “Feliz Navidad.”
To reach this fabulous birthday destination, I am forced to sit on a three-hour layover in Houston, Texas. Though I can’t specifically recall ever being in this terminal, it seems rather familiar to me. Nonetheless, with a Boingo account running as fast as it can, a bunch of surly travelers around me, and the Bose headphones doing their job, I figured it was as good a time as any to take some stock in my life. I wake up every morning with the feeling that I’m going to die at age 70. Either that or the mid-life crisis is hitting a little earlier than it should. If anything, at least my wife can look back at this when I turn 71 and say, “You were wrong. Told you so.”
The good: My family is beautiful, healthy, and growing. My son is smart and smarter than his old man most of the time. By this time next year, it looks like I’ll have another son. Both of these things please me very much. Because we chose (and somewhat tied ourselves to) an non-traditional working life, the recession is not affecting us the way it is most people. What could’ve been viewed as lazy financial planning five years ago has turned into a sigh of relief for us. We are not rich, but we are not broke and didn’t lose very much at all when the economy took a bath. Our dog is half-blind but otherwise healthy, even at nearly ten years old. According to the doctors, I’m largely healthy myself, despite a complete inattention to my physical well-being for the past 15 years or so. Blood pressure awesome, cholesterol kicks ass, heart looking good. It doesn’t make any sense to me, but I’ll take it, even if it’s a lie.
And so, that should just about do it, right? I have a perfect little family, some money in the bank, some money coming in, and my health. Just shut the hell up and move on. Fair enough.
I deleted the last six paragraphs of this post. We’ll leave the above to stand in for the State of the Otis at 35.
I’m Otis, I’m 35, and I’m going to Mexico.