Hi, I'm Charlie Griefer. The "Charlie" behind Second Half Charlie. But you probably figured that much out already.
As of this writing, I'm 45 years old. I figure that puts me right about the halfway point between the nothingness that came before and the nothingness that will follow. If I'm incredibly lucky, that is. But whether I've just entered it, or if I've been there for longer than I'd like to know... I'm pretty much firmly in the second half of my life.
As I look back upon the first half, I notice a pattern. I procrastinated. I'd put things off. Heck, I intended to set this blog up in April and here we are almost wrapping up June. I coasted through the first half, generally putting in enough of an effort to not fail miserably. Then as I see the end approaching, I realize that if I hope to actually succeed, I've got a lot of catching up to do. Sometimes I manage to cross a particular finish line, but many times not. In hindsight, I see this pattern when thinking about school, when thinking about relationships, and now in thinking about life itself.
My life isn't all bad, by any means. I'm married just over 15 years to a wonderful and beautiful woman. I have three kids that make me proud and leave me in awe every day. I work with people who I respect and admire, and my job pays me well. It doesn't hurt that I love what I do.
Really, my life is pretty amazing. It's well more than I deserve, and there's not a minute of any day that I'm not grateful for it. For all of it. And that's something that I've only just recently learned. Gratitude. Being happy.
I spent a lot of years being very unhappy in spite of leading a pretty good life. I spent a lot of years closed off because I was afraid of being hurt. I was "safe", but I was lonely. My fear of feeling pain left me unable to feel pleasure. None of this was necessarily intentional or a conscious effort. But there I was. Full of doubt. Fear. Self-loathing. Unable to give. Unwilling to receive.
One day when I was 42 (coincidence, Douglas Adams fans?) I had an epiphany. There was no major event that triggered it. Nothing more than waking up one day and realizing that my life was half gone. And as I looked back on the life that I had led, I was disappointed at how I had wasted it. Or at the very least, not truly experienced it. I also realized that I may be well past halftime. I'd heard enough about people who were healthy dying in their 40s to realize that I was now at the age where it could happen. It made me realize that every day I woke up was indeed a gift. I didn't want to squander that gift anymore. I wanted to fully experience life.
That didn't mean I was going to jump out of a plane, or get a toupee, or buy a sports car. But I was going to stop living a shell of a life. I was going to make each moment count. I was going to be, among other things:
Here's where I'll share stories about that journey. Where I've succeeded. Where I've failed. Where I see myself heading. If you're on a similar journey, perhaps you'll find some value in these stories. I don't have all of the answers. I don't even know all of the questions. But I do know that I'm pretty happy.
And that's pretty cool.