Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:25 PM
same poo here bronn, i've been down that road. i'm a bit younger than you (27 now) but the midlife crisis hit me at age 22. i grew up in a household of massively high expectations based entirely around financial success and social status. acquiring as much money as possible and attaining security and stability and status were the gods of my formative years. and so when my knees blew out and i got booted from the marines and dropped out of school and working in a goddamn fast food kitchen i dropped into a pretty deep existential crisis for a good long time. that's when i began to question the entire realm of ideology i'd been fed since childhood, and in an effort to escape it i basically did a brain dump and shoved aside all my preexisting notions about the world and what it meant to live and started over fresh. i spent probably a year straight in the guilford college library almost every night reading nothing but philosophy and theology and literature and science and geography and astronomy and everything else in an attempt to ingest as much knowledge as possible and to, at the same time, find my place in the universe, if i had one.
what happened was a gradual slide away from the grasp of materialism and the deadly clutches of western consumer culture. i began to see those things for the shadows they are rather than security they're propped up to be, and in the process of this paradigm shift i completely lost respect for death and for fear and for security and comfort, and in response i quit my job, sold the better part of my possessions, and bought a one-way ticket to australia. i wandered through australian wilderness and up into the jungles of southeast asia living out of an old external frame backpack and doing nothing but reading and writing and thinking and engaging in discourse with as many new people as i could encounter, seeking, in what was almost a spiritual experience - a pilgrimage of sorts, as i recognize it now to have been - the answers to life's greatest mysteries.
years later, in truth, i am no closer to arriving at those answers, and in fact the waters have been muddied quite considerably. the more i discover the more complex things become in my mind. but i am attempting to make a career out of pursuing those answers, and i have discovered a great many intangible things to find joy in this life, and now i'm married to someone who shares in the dream of creating a community property with the goal of bringing in orphans and foster care castoffs and caring for them, and enabling others on the property to accomplish great, world-changing goals by the support of the collective, financially and otherwise. it's that drive that keeps me working 60-70 hour workweeks along with full time school to make this a reality.
so... there comes a point when idealism meets reality, and of course you can't just up and fly to australia and leave your wife and kids behind. but maybe that longing in your heart can be fulfilled by finding an adventure, a deeper purpose, in life, one that goes beyond your mere existence. it's something to explore; maybe you'll like what you find.