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Fumbling Towards Forty: Prologue



According to my birth certificate and the time I’ve spent on the planet I’m apparently turning 40-years-old in 2025.

I have now lived a month at the age of 39 as I begin fumbling towards forty and I think this is a good time for me to start thinking about things. You know, the big questions. About time wasted and time spent. Time going forward and time never returned.

To my Babcia

This is the first year of my life without my grandmother who passed away in November. My Babcia. She was the most important person in my life. I looked up to her more than anyone else. A concentration camp survivor, and a survivor in many other ways. She had told me stories of having to beg to keep a job as a single mother in the 1960s. She told me stories in the concentration camp that I can’t really repeat without people misunderstanding. I have memories of going to McDonalds with her. Going to Woolco. Every Christmas Eve spent at her house. I don’t drive so I often take the train back to Chatham-Kent and usually when I did, the first place I would visit would be her place.

I think about if I spent enough time with her. If I should have learned Polish to speak to her better. If I took her love for granted. There was a point last year when she was dealing with dementia and losing her sight. It would take her a while to recognize the blurs and voices near her. She figured my aunt out who lives with her first. And then she figured out me. Thinking back to that makes me feel good that I was around enough for her to recognize me quick, even months from eventually passing away.

I haven’t known anyone as strong as her. I haven’t known anyone who fought for life like her. And I don’t know if I ever will. So much in this world tried to kill her. In the end, she chose her time. She stopped eating. She stopped drinking. That was her saying I survived the holocaust. I survived coming to a new country. I survived an abusive marriage. I survived various health ailments and accidents. Nothing stopped her except her.

Now that I’m 39, I think about that. All the time now. Nothing stopped her except her.

To my Comfort Zone

I spent my 20s and 30s wanting to do so much. Projects gone by the wayside. Plans created and dying. I’ve wanted to write a novel for literally decades now and I’ve barely made it a few pages. I also wasn’t diagnosed for ADHD until I was 29. I’ve now spent a decade on ADHD medication, mostly Concerta. I’ve tried different types and Concerta is the only work to properly work for my brain.

I used to take it with an anti-depressant which was supposed to strengthen it and help with seasonal affective disorder. Bupropion. It wasn’t until around June I was talking to Ian Williams on Twitter about it and how it stopped him from writing. After that conversation the next time I talked to my doctor I told him how I was going to stop taking it and see if that helped. He was supportive of it. I’ve stopped taking it.

I’m writing more now than I’ve written in years. Coincidence? Maybe! But I doubt it.

This means after a decade of being on ADHD medication, and years of an anti-depressant which was making it harder for me to be as creative as I wanted to, I’m now finally in a place where my ADHD medication is doing what I wanted it to do in the first place. Keep me focused to be proactive and creative. It took the majority of my thirties but I finally feel I’m at a place to finally tackle those projects. Tackle that novel. Take those trips I’ve always wanted to take. Learn things I never learned properly. All of it. I feel more open and free than I have in so long.

I wish I could have done it sooner. I wish I knew sooner the effect it had on me. But that’s just my story. That’s just how things went for me. I spent my twenties trying to figure myself out. I spent my thirties trying to get mentally well.

I moved into a comfort zone. I stopped working as an editor for a sports website. I left a terrible producer job for a small web media company that refused to give me the full time it promised me when I first started working there. I started working another five day job that now I only work four days, which pays me less but ensures I don’t burn out.

I’ve figured out my comfort zone. I’ve figured out how to put myself in a place where I’m relaxed and not overwhelmed. It’s now time to get out of that comfort zone. It’s time to get myself in a place where I can finally accomplish all the things I spent 20 years watching collect dust in my mind. Maybe it won’t be as good as I thought it would have been back when I first came up with the ideas I had for novels but I don’t really care anymore. It’s time to get them done.

It was never out of fear. Everything I write, I don’t fear being told what I wrote wasn’t good. It has always been about my brain just never being able to stay on track. Not a fear of people seeing what I have to say and saying it isn’t good but a fear of not being able to finish another thing I put time towards. That waste of time, time down the drain? That’s what breaks my heart.

The last time I tried to write a novel, it had to have been a few years ago. Probably 2016. I wrote two chapters and then I stopped. I couldn’t stick to my thought process. I couldn’t keep my throughline after sleeping. I wanted to get back to it but I would just stare at the screen. Maybe that was the Bupropion. Maybe it was fear. But I’d like to get back to it. And I plan to. And nothing can’t stop me this time except me.

To my future


It’s taking me longer than a month, but I still have plans in motion to actually work on projects. February had some illness issues (I couldn’t stay healthy for more than a few days almost all month, as well as January) but March I’ve been healthy and consistent. Writing three times a week, working out three times a week, and actually writing things down when I feel the urge to.

Once I’m ready? I’m ready. If you’re bothering to read this blog entry instead of a wrestling article I’m sure you’ll know.

I have a few more of these fumbling towards forty’s planned. Talking about how I view life now compared to in the past. But at least you know where I am right now. At least I know, or I think I do. I’ve been dreading turning 40 because it just makes me think about the time wasted, or at least my perception of it wasted. But I think back to my Babcia living for 94 years. She wasn’t even in the 1970s yet when she turned 40. I was 17 years away from existing.

For 38 years I knew her and she was my favourite person. My first words were, “Oh shit” because she used to say it around me all the time. How can I say any time lived with her was wasted just because I didn’t get the projects I wanted done, didn’t write the book I wanted to write, and didn’t do all I wanted to do? I now have to move forward in life without the comfort of her, and the last thing I should ever do is look back in regret.

If it has taken me this long to get started then it has taken me this long to get started. There’s still time to prepare, but now is the time to be out of my comfort zone and finally complete the things I’ve wanted to complete.

There was a Facebook post I saw about the real hero’s journey is when the dragon slays you. The world didn’t accept the gifts you offered. You can stop the current journey and start another to slay the dragon or you can let yourself be shattered and return with a new sense of self. That post gave me some comfort. I am a little shattered (“That’s how the light gets in”) but I never actually was slayed by the dragon. The dragon sleeps waiting. I just never started the journey.

As I fumble towards forty, I start that journey. Finally. Nothing can stop me except me.

I’ll miss you Babcia.

AWAW Aaron Wrotkowski 2024