Childish Gambino “Sweatpants”

Childish Gambino “Sweatpants”

 

The other day at work I was having a conversation with my coworkers about 90’s hip-hop. Names like Mobb Deep, M.O.P, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, Biggie, Fugees, Big L, Outkast, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, the Pharcyde, and a dozen more got dropped. We reminisced how we couldn’t go about our business without having our disk-man and a small cd carrying case with our carefully selected assortment of mix-tapes and albums. In those days we lived for music. We laughed about how we could be in the best mood in the world, but if the right track came on, like Pete Roc and Clay Smooth “T.R.O.Y” or Mobb Deep “Shook Ones Pt. 2”, it could have a transformative effect on your mood. Your walk would become a little harder, your face slightly more stoic, and you quietly thought to yourself that you were the baddest man on planet earth and you wish someone would try to bring the ruckus!

Off course music no longer has the same effect on me as it did back then, because naturally I’m older, and have much better understanding of consequences then I did when I was a snot-nosed teen. But every once in a blue moon, I will come across a track, like Childish Gambino’s “Sweatpants” that will cause my shoulder to sway with a little more determination. That will make me put on that “you better not fuck with me” face.” And for like a minute or two I will allow myself to flirt with the idea that I am as indestructible as I was when I was 18 years old and ready to take on the world. That is until my hardcore walk causes my left knee to hurt, and my back stiffens, and my shoulder swaying is reaggravating an old rotator cup injury, and then I remember that I’m too old for all that tough guy shit. But it’s ok, because near the end of “Sweatpants”, the hard edge transitions over into some smooth, sexy funk, and I realize that there is nothing wrong with just grooving to the track like any normal ex-youngster that just wants to find a graceful way to enter middle age.

The More Things Change…

When I wrote my first post, some three years ago, I was at a perplexing point in my life. I was in my mid-thirties, working for a Fortune 500 company, married, and living in a humble little home outside of Chicago. If I were to compare my life, to the usual standards that so many of my family members had set for themselves, I would have considered myself a success. And yet I was not at all happy.

I hated my job, I was afraid of becoming a father, and I was feeling overwhelmed with the responsibilities that come with home ownership. Then there where the anxiety attacks. I would get them once, sometimes three times a week. If you have never suffered from an anxiety attack, let me tell you, it is overwhelming and draining. The feeling of my own heart beating so hard that it feels it is desperately trying to break through my ribcage to get itself free, while this overpowering sense of impending doom consumed me, left me feeling both drained and a little crazy.

I knew I had to make some significant changes. I couldn’t stick with the status quo because it apparently wasn’t making me happy. I was going to need to be proactive and do some things that I found intimidating. But I felt I had no choice. Because I was getting too comfortable just always feeling down.

I guess this should be the part of the post where I tell you how I managed to do miraculously a complete 180. Well in some ways I did succeed in turning some aspects of my life around. I went from not being able to picture myself as a father to loving almost every single aspect of fatherhood. My son will soon be two years old. And to my great surprise, I have found that fatherhood suits me. I love spending time with my boy, and playing with him, and making him laugh uncontrollably. My boy is this little adventurer who makes life so much fun and is the most charismatic person I’ve ever known. He fills our life with more joy than I could ever put into words.

I still work at the same crappy place, but after nearly a ten-year hiatus, I went back to school. I am currently halfway through my senior year at Southern New Hampshire University. And if everything goes well, by this time next year I will be working on my MFA. So hopefully, I will be making a living doing something else sooner than later.

My anxiety attacks have decreased significantly. I suffered my last attack a few months ago. I get a bit anxious from time to time, but thankfully I have been able to keep myself from going all freakazoid. The trick is not to fight the anxiety. Now anytime I feel the wave of panic coming, I simply let it wash over me, and pass. I accept it. Because Anxiety is about the realization that we have so little control over things.

So yeah, in many respects, my life had changed a lot since when I first started the blog. And yet I still find myself asking old questions disguised as new ones. Are we financially ready for baby # 2? Will I find a job once I’m done with school? Do I have any idea of what I am doing?

I don’t have any clear answers at the moment, which makes me feels both uneasy and frustrated. It is exhausting to always be worrying about something. Especially things that are in many ways out of my control. And I still find myself asking if there will ever come a day when I can live in the here and now, and not allow myself to worry obsessively about the future. Hopefully, I will get to that point, sooner, rather than later. In the meantime, I plan on reviving my old blog and post here more often. I probably don’t have time to write one to 4 thousand words post, like I did back in the day (I write enough for school), but it may help me work through some self-doubt while honing some of my creative nonfiction skills. Anyway, allow me the opportunity to welcome you back to Lost Around the Block. I hope to be seeing you all more often.

Tom