On Turning 55

I seem to have fallen into the habit of twice a year pausing to reflect. Obviously, the end of a calendar year is a good time for that and apparently, so it my birthday.

I am floored by the more than 500 birthday wishes piling up on Facebook. They come from all walks of my life, from friends I grew up with on Tioga Drive to professionals who I was never certain if they knew my name to colleagues, and even fans of my work.

It is incredibly gratifying and a highlight to what is a relatively quiet and normal day. My brother just called and referenced my hitting the “double nickel” and yes, 55 is a solid number. The last 12 months has certainly been packed with moments of sheer delight and long stretches of nervousness. There was all the final work being done on the After Earth books, then revising the Bible, then flying out to be interviewed for the DVD followed by going to New Mexico for the press junket.

I had hoped the work for the film and for the books might lead to other work from the studio or the publishers or someone who heard about the hard work Peter David, Mike Friedman and I put into the project. The film’s lack of box office success has little bearing on what we did since it was all designed to expand the film into a transmedia universe. Unfortunately, those hopes have yet to become reality.

My goal for the summer was to take one of my unfinished manuscripts and actually finish it for release via Crazy 8 Press. For a number of reasons it became a start and stop proposition and when I finished rereading the Young Adult novel, I saw how to tweak things, how to revise the remaining outline and what to do next but the passion for it was lacking and I kept finding other thigns to do. The actual drive to write fiction has gone on vacation, frustrating me.

There were also long weeks where I wondered what I would be doing next. I completed my student teaching and began wondering about the job market. As it turned out, I was also about to begin the process of relocating to Maryland at something approaching warp speed. Now that I am largely settled here, I have been interviewing and applying for teaching jobs but as July wanes, I am beginning to consider what to do should I not get a classroom for September. There are most certainly educational options and I’ve begun exploring them.

This is not at all what I expected 55 to be like when I was 25. Heck, it’s not what I expected at 45. I have my health, my wonderful marriage, and am now closer to Kate, whose accomplishments continue to fill me with pride. I am just feeling somewhat in-between things, uncertain what the immediate future holds for me. It could all change with a phone call or my creative drive to be rekindled next week when I am surrounded by peers at Shore Leave.

I do know that I am grateful for the love and support of friends and family. While not the best birthday I’ve ever had (being at San Diego Comic-Con in 2009 will be tough to top), it is far from the worst. After all, another year beckons and will no doubt come with plenty of surprises.

One comment

  • My sincerest wishes for a happy 55th, Bob. You’ve always proved yourself one of the most versatile pros in the field, going right back to your days at DC in the mid-80’s. I’ve been a fan since then and salute your ability to adapt so well.

    Here’s to the future!

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