This past weekend was my twelve-year blogiversary. I'm not posting much these days, and a month ago I was considering just shutting the whole thing down. In the end I decided to let it limp along; if you know anything about me by now, it's that I'm bad at letting go.
Partly it's that I'm not processing as deeply or urgently any more, and I don't need this space to figure things out in the way I used to. But it's also about the form: blogging simply feels less fun now, in the same way that email came to feel before it. I'm not sure I'm doing it well--it takes longer and I'm less happy with what I produce--which may be a sign that whatever I may still have to say requires a different medium.
As it happens, this weekend was also my twenty-year college reunion, so I had further occasion to think about what it means to be at midlife and midcareer and starting to feel restless. I've written before about midcareer malaise and the way it's exacerbated by a profession with almost no mobility, but in talking with my classmates, I realized that a lot of them feel similarly. Yes, my peers in law or high-tech usually could move across the country--or just to a different employer within the same region--and some did a lot of that in their twenties and thirties. But in their forties, most are not doing anything of the kind. Maybe they've made partner or ensconced themselves within a comfortable practice, or they're reluctant to uproot their kids from a particular neighborhood or school district; maybe their spouse has an amazing job or a chronic illness. At some point, things start to feel pretty good. And the opportunity costs are harder to rationalize.
But although no one I talked to was expecting to make a big change any time soon, almost no one was comfortable with the idea that there wasn't an obvious next step--or certain they'd be content if their career turned out to be doing a version of what they were doing now for the next ten or twenty years.
And, sure: what fucking privilege we all have to be worried that maybe we won't be totally happy doing this basically agreeable thing forever. But sometimes it's comforting to realize that one is just a type, a part of a class, with a totally banal set of fears and anxieties. (It's like when I finally confessed to a couple of friends that I'd been starting to worry that having a mental blip here or there might be a sign of early-onset dementia and every single one widened her eyes and said OH MY GOD ME TOO.)
So I'm going to chill out for a bit about whatever might be around the next corner, either in my larger career or in my writing life. Thursday I head to D.C. for a month, and in addition to the stuff I'm on fellowship to do, I'm also planning to dedicate a couple of hours a week to a new writing venture. Maybe I'll even write more here, too.
See you in June.