First, the difference between the two words. A delusion is a false belief. An illusion is an unreal vision.
In my previous post, “Fat Chance” I alluded to the changes my body has undergone in mid-life. In this post I’m going to touch on some of the mental changes I’ve experienced.
My father once confided in me that the first time he felt “grown up” was the day he realized he’d never play shortstop for the L.A. Dodgers, a revelation he says that didn’t occur until his early twenties when he was a practicing attorney.
Mid-life has given me a more realistic perspective on my own hopes and dreams. I’ve come to accept I won’t be writing for Saturday Night Live. There are a few (dozen or so) other aspirations I have accepted are not within reach. This is not to say I haven’t accomplished anything. I have. Things that make me swell with pride.
What’s different about me before mid-life and now, is perspective. When i was younger, my thought process was binary. On/Off. Yes/No. All/Nothing.
It is the all or nothing paradigm that can be especially toxic. For the longest time, I internally negated my accomplishments, unwilling to acknowledge them until I reached the grander goals I set for myself. Maybe I was worried I’d jinx myself or lose my drive. I’m not sure.
What I am sure about is I now have a different perspective about both that I have done, that which I will never accomplish, and what remains within reach. Part of this goes to my new-found ability to give myself the break the younger Jon could never have done.
I wish I could understand that one. I’ve spent my life as an extremely forgiving, encouraging husband, father, and friend. The only person I’ve had virtually no leniency towards is me. I’m fairly certain I am not alone in this odd contradiction.
I’ve reached a stage of my life where I’ve shed the delusions about my own potential. That doesn’t mean I don’t have goals. I do. Like this blog for instance. No seriously, “Like” this blog. (Wink.)
I’ve also shed many of my illusions about myself. I can see myself in a more objective light. I can appreciate the accomplishments that are part of who I am as well as that I’m striving to change.
And that feels pretty damn good.