Taking Stock, Looking Ahead

A year-end pondering:

Is the Crisis over?

You don't even have to fork over one of these for my thoughts - for now

The thought struck me recently as a I chatted with a friend, lamenting the paucity of postings this month here at C?WC? It seems when I have posted, it’s been a reporting on something I saw or did, not the angst-ridden explorations of middle-aged yearnings and failures. So maybe the Crisis has passed.


Maybe I just have less of a need to spill out all the kvetches and existential claptrap that flit through my brain. Or see the dangers of beating a dead horse and then wading through the bloody, pulpy mess so publicly, for all to see. And maybe a touch of holiday laziness has set in, as the happenings at the History Nerd have dwindled this month as well (though I hope to rectify that this week).

A recap, for my own benefit, of why I started this almost 18 months ago: At 48, I had just come off what I considered a theatrical failure, the solo show, even as I gave myself some kudos for taking the risk. The production did not lead to further stagings, as I hoped, and if it is ever performed again, it will have a different name and “fictionalized” content, thanks to the threatened lawsuit and actual legal agreement wrung out of me by someone not keen on being mentioned in the play (even though he/she was honestly and I would say fairly depicted. But perhaps he/she, like me, has regrets about some things of the past…).

And since then, the theatrical endeavors have been sparse and minor, on the whole. I also had to leave the small theater community I had finally tapped into to come back to CT (the other major part of the Crisis), where I feel totally removed from the making of theater, the discussing of it, the learning I felt I was ongoing in Chicago. To remedy that in 2010, I am taking some workshops; spending a week in isolation on an island retreat, where I will, I hope, work on an idea for something completely new, a musical; and I will ardently pursue my latest goal of getting at least one of my play published. All while still debating how long I can do this, write new work and send out old ones and call myself a playwright, when I still feel a bit of a fraud. Or at least an inadequate writer.

The move/resettling aspect of the Crisis need not be rehashed. I am here. I would rather be there. Yes, being close to friends is great, but at times it seems like getting together on a consistent basis is no easier than when I was 800 miles away. Ditto with family, except for my mother, who is perhaps the one person most glad to see us back here. I know there will be more calls to visit and help out as she gets older. 2010 is a milestone for her – 85 – and as active as she is, as much as other relatives marvel that she hasn’t changed a bit, aging goes on; the signs show.

Oh, joy...

Indeed they do, even for a youngster like me, quickly approaching my own milestone in less than 3 months. The spectre of 50 haunted me even as I turned 49; now, the proximity really scares the shit out of me. Oh, Burgan, grow up, it’s just a number. But when I look in the obits and see guys younger than me dropping dead unexpectedly; or read about the increasing knowledge of the dangers of CT scans, and think of all the ones I endured during my bout with cancer, and perhaps even more after as I wrestled with the fear or some new “noma” striking; or simply grapple with the growing list of chronic pains, unexplained and never-ending, I feel like 50 is pretty fucking old and I should really do more to overcome the fear of death that has plagued me for almost 25 years.

One day I'll get a real standing desk

Even now, the latest inexplicable pain has brought a change. I type this while standing, using a jerry-rigged system that includes a CD rack, a large metal clip, my netbook, and an extra keyboard. All because of the newish pain in my hip that sitting exacerbates, and which is probably muscular, or maybe nerve-related, or could be bursitis, but there are lymph nodes around there, you know, the doc tells me, and when you talk about funky lymph nodes, well, it could be….Even lying down to sleep brings no comfort, and each day I wake wondering how much worse the pain will be, and what new ones will have crept in to join their friends.

Maybe someone will say that about me in 2 years...

Oddly – or perhaps not – I can write about the all the pains and failures without a negative frame of mind. Really. Mostly I accept the situation, or else pop the occasional Ativan. The cries of anguish, to myself or to Samantha, are not as frequent as they used to be, which I partly attribute to a new supplement regimen (SAM-e and ST. John’s wort, in the right balance, seems to be doing well for me). And I look forward to some things for the new year, like starting a class at a local community college so I can become (drum roll please): a paralegal. All right, stop laughing. My own ennui with the work writing and the bleak prospects for the industry as a whole told me I should try to find some other work, as a backup. More about this educational path as it unfolds. I also have that writing retreat I mentioned earlier, a trip to Alaska for our anniversary and my birthday, and I hope some volunteer opportunities in our fine town. Something to get me out of my head and remind me that many others face much more real struggles every day. I’m hoping 2010 also brings Samantha new joys, as she gets back into theater and explores her own volunteer gig. At least one of us is happy here.

So, the final verdict – a mixed bag. Things could be much, much worse. They could always be better. And there should be enough interesting events to keep the blog rolling, if not the Crisis. Oh, who am I kidding? There will always be plenty of elements to fuel the Crisis. If I can be bothered to write about them – still – is another question.


~ by mburgan on December 27, 2009.

9 Responses to “Taking Stock, Looking Ahead”

  1. Though I am not happy for you that much of our feelings are the same in regards to a mid-life crisis, I am most thrilled that I am not the only one who has had a difficult time of it. I, too, was inspired to start my blog by a mid-life crisis. I am a flailing writer desperate to finish her masterpiece, yet, never quite getting the gumption up to do it. I have turned to meditation, the law of attraction and yoga to help me get through-better than destructive behavior I suppose. It is helping, but change my thoughts to positive ones is much more difficult than I anticipated. I have realized after three months of this that I don’t feel I am deserving of everything I want in my life. My self-esteem is rock-bottom. I had masked it for so long, but now this is the truth that I must face and deal with. So, in my meditation last night, I concentrated on feeling the love I have for my boyfriend, my mom and dad, and brothers, and nieces and nephews. Then, I slowly imagined giving it to myself. I slowly wound it around my spinal cord down all the way to my base chakra and all the way up to my crown chakra. Then, I allowed it to flow outward into the rest of my body. So very powerful.

    Well, I’ll check back with you, and I’m linking back to your site.

    Best wishes.

    P.S. I’m living in Los Angeles, but am from Maine. I am writing a screenplay in which a scene takes place at Fenway Park. Since I haven’t been there since I was little, I searched for pictures of Fenway as research and found yours…which led me to your blog. Ahh. There are no coincidences are there?

  2. Oh, there are definitely coincidences, and it’s always nice when they are positive. Glad you found the site and saw that you are not alone. If you peruse earlier posts you’ll see how difficult the Crisis has been at times, yet I think I can still find some positives too. I’ve done yoga and meditation too, and different forms of “new age” therapies are still in my toolbox for staying semi-sane. Like you, I wrestle with the self-esteem issues; some days are better than others. Hang in there, good luck with the writing, and I will link to your site as well. Thanks for reading and for writing.

  3. Yeah, 50 sucks. It’s one step closer to…well, you know. I just made out my living will, and will. I’m leaving my body to science.

  4. By the way, it is just a number, but it’s a high double digit one. (I hate when people say that!)

  5. I guess I’ll get more of the “it’s just a number” bit as my birthday approaches. If all goes well, I will be on my island writing retreat on the actual day, so no one will know me there and remind me that I’m getting old.

  6. Oh please….you can moan about anything but turning 50..….I’m glad you are back…although I don’t have a free place to stay at for my next trip to Chicago. And I think we always think the worse with our aches and pains.., God knows i have plenty of them.

  7. I went to the funeral of my 16 year old painting buddy, Megan (www.hopeformegan.com) on 2/3/2010. She was an amazing and inspirational young woman who only wanted to pick a college and have a boyfriend. She abhorred bitching about day to day stuff and died still believing in miracles. She made me believe in only living today. Find happiness in little bits and the little bits add up to minutes, which expand to days. Find a happiness in moments… it’s really all we have.

  8. p.s. I turned 50 on 1/15.

  9. 16 is just too fucking young. Agghh. And I wish I bitched less about the day-to-day minutia that sets me off so easily, that’s for sure. I do search for the little bits of life that build into happiness, or acceptance, or something that transcends the neurosis that fuels too much of my life. It just hit me–I started a blog and “crisis” appeared in two out of three words in the title. Not a good sign. But the writing is cathartic. And the comments are illuminating. Thanks to everyone who reads and responds.

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