So this year I turn 50. I keep in touch with some of my high school friends and since I am the youngest of them, I’ve been watching them hit the big 5-0 one after another over the past year. My birthday is still almost five months away, so I’ve still got some time to enjoy the “40s” still.

Yesterday I got a call that one of my cousins passed away last week. As readers of this blog know, the last few years have been tough on the Cosmic family when it comes to family members passing away. But there is something about losing a cousin, especially one that I used to watch working on cars with my older brothers.

For most of my adult life I have been in jobs that I enjoyed thoroughly, even when they were very difficult. I love programming and I spent a good part of my career either as a programmer or as a programmer/manager (sort of like a “player/manager” in baseball, lol). Even when I moved in to full management of programmers I still managed to keep an active role in the process of creating software and getting it deployed to end users who benefited from it.

For the past year and a half I’ve been in a different role, one where I don’t manage a software development team or develop software myself. It’s a good role, and an important one, and it is temporary, meaning I’ll be put back into a more typical and comfortable role when this program is over later this year. But right now at this moment I am having to work to do work, if that makes sense, and that’s not something I’m used to. In more than 30 years of holding a job I’ve almost always enjoyed my work, even when the political environment was tough. But right now the work I’m doing isn’t in my direct area of interest and the political environment is very tough, so I have to actually psyche myself up sometimes just to get enough energy to get some important things done.

And as the stress ramps up, the “life is too short” impulses get stronger.

I’ve always considered myself immune from the “mid life crisis” thing. I don’t see myself buying a sports car, or quitting my job to travel Europe, or adopting an expensive and pointless hobby (I have enough of those already). And I can’t see myself chasing after other women since I’m pretty blessed with the one I have.

But this moment in my life is definitely making me think that life is too short to dread going to work even if it’s only a couple days a week. For the first time in my life I am actually understanding things I’ve heard people say about how much they hated work. I used to sort of shake my head and say “well, QUIT then.” But it’s not really that easy is it, especially with one kid in college and another in high school…

Oh well, by the time I hit 50, I should be out of this particular role at work and back in my preferred role. But right now I have to say, I can see the temptation to chuck everything and take a month long hike on the Appalachian trail.