There are times
When I have to remind myself:
That I have some (if few) close friends,
That I have things in life I enjoy,
That I have all the blessings of living in a free nation,
That I have good parents,
A fine mind,
Decent earning potential,
Potential for a bright future.

I have to remind myself of these things
Because as the years have worn on
And I sink into my thirties
Little seems to have changed for me:
Little cause to celebrate as I
Muddle my way toward the grey weather of middle age.

The presence of so many strangers and near-strangers
Exacerbates the feeling:
A feeling of helpless, hopeless
Where others flourish or excel,
I founder.
Where I excel, too often it seems to matter little.
Years bring wisdom and grace,
Yet I am still stymied in conversation,
My best efforts meek and half-hearted.
In my house
Satisfaction makes a grudging guest;
Joy eludes me entirely.

God knows, there are others worse off,
Others with far heavier burdens than mine,
Others more tormented and harried, but I,
I should feel better off.
I should be better off:
Married or in a relationship,
Making respectable contributions in my career,
Winning new friends,
Making a positive impact on the world at large.

Yet I remain locked in a kind of
Purgatorial twilight:
Nothing I've done yet seems to have made any difference.
I have hopes certainly, and abilities,
Yet no worthy legacies.
Were I to die tomorrow
My entire life would have been for naught
And few would grieve.

A man's ego can be fragile:
Especially when he is shy and doubting,
And his past tokens of success are few.
Therefore, I have to remind myself
That there are yet many years
To make amends,
That it is within my power to make something of myself.

I am not without a sense of direction:
A planned route lies ahead.
I only wish the way were more encouraging,
Less lonely.

George Chadderdon © 2002