Recently I've been faced with a lot of questions about mortality. Just seems to be a constant issue in which all endings are bleak. Think about it, this little journey we're all on. The young years, all of which you are in who would be reading this, are great. Everything is new, we have dreams for the future and ideas of how we want our lives to turn out. Does anyone really think past 55 or 60? I mean, once you've risen to the top and you've gracefully bowed out of your professional life? You might still have another 40 years ahead of you, have you ever thought about that? What are you going to do with them? I mean, in your young years you're completely consumed with finding a partner, finishing school, getting that perfect career, raising a family, and achieving personal greatness. Then what? Your kids are all grown up, you're forced into retirement, and all you have to look forward to is your next sugar-free jello cup and death. Death is the next step after all...
Basically once you hit that ripe age where your contribution to society stops, all you have left is Matlock and water aerobics. It's like you're just hanging around until one of your vital organs quits and you never have to worry about bending over to tighten up one of those velcro shoes. Sure, you might get suckered into watching the grandkids every now and then but no one takes you seriously. Think about it. How many times have you blown off the wisdom of an old man or just smiled and nodded as grandma tells you stories of the great depression? Or maybe it was Gone With The Wind with a hint of The Wizard of Oz? Doesn't matter, "she's old" you tell yourself.
Then you have the group who say "the golden years are the best years, that's why they're golden". No, they're golden because your teeth, toenails, and cholesterol pills are yellow. No matter who you are, your hair is going to start failing out, your eyesight is going to fail, your skin is going to sag, and your love for pudding will grow. Chances are, at least in our society, you'll wind up in a nice little home with a bunch of strangers and insolent nurses who forget to bring you that cholesterol pill which you for some reason want so desperately so you can cling on to your existence for a few more months.
So what are your alternatives? You could die early. I mean, you could not waste time with professional success or the family thing. That would kind of make your young years pointless though, wouldn't it? You can't plan an early death, maybe that's the trouble. It just sort of happens. Often times it happens to those who don't want to die early, robbing them of the joy of finally understanding The Bill Cosby Show. Nope, can't plan an early death. You can't plan a midlife death either. It's unfortunate that you can't say "well, I'm as far as I'm going to make it in my career, the kids have finally stopped leeching off me and I really don't feel like catching 60 Minutes next week. Let's do this." You can, however, plan your feeble bedridden death. You'll have plenty of time to make casket arrangements, explicitly tell those who will still listen to you where you want your ass planted, and divvy up that precious stamp collection in your will. An old death is a looming death. You've already lived and all you have left to think about is dying.
Here is my nugget of wisdom for those still reading, remember that life doesn't stop at 60. You may still have the better part of a century ahead of you and plan accordingly. Maybe look past your future and into the present, acknowledge the old people in your life now. Chances are, with modern medicine, they'll be around for a while and are miserable. Do something unexpected to make things new for them again.
I had so many profound things to say before I sat behind this computer. Realizations, revelations, and cute little stories I could wrap up in tiny a package to bestow upon you. The last few days have been filled with so much life and experience, surely I have some sort of "the moral of the story is:" or a "and that's why I had the best summer vacation ever" conclusion. Nope. Nothin'.
Things in my life seem to lack conclusion. I can't remember the last clean cut end to a chapter or the beginning of one. Life is all muttered together with experience after experience with only a quick, impersonal "note to self" tying it all together. In all reality, more questions and dynamics arise on the way to the original sought after conclusion leaving you confused as fuck as to what you were doing in the first place. The thought of all the things in my life that haven't seen a conclusion is overwhelming. So much so that more questions have gotten in the way of my side tracked questions that distracted me from my original questions. It's an amazing spiral that I encourage you to never think about.
What the hell does that mean? See, more questions. I guess I want some friggin' answers. How many licks does it really take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? I picked up a book on tape by Al Franken where he gives "life" advice to graduating college students. I figured it'd be interesting, humorous, and somewhat insightful. No. Just a bunch more ramble like the shit you've been reading. However, in his effort to give others advice on life it made me think of the advice I've given over the years. Have I been giving good, useful, and relevant advice? Yes, for the most part I have. I thought back to recent conversations where I shed some wisdom. All those little "note to self" post-its where coming alive and formed themselves into something that could be shared with others. A perfect thesis equipped with a statement, supporting materials, and why yes- a conclusion!So, the moral of the story is all the experiences you've been through are anticdotes of your life until you reflect upon them and figure out why they were valuable. There's your pretty little package. I'll be writing a book of philosophy should you need me...
2007, great. Now I can write the date wrong on everything for a good month and a half. Just think if it were January 2006, what would you do different? I probably would care a lot less about things that consumed me over the year. All the thinking was a waste of time. Didn't change anything, especially when you never act upon your thoughts. I do that a lot- come up with great ideas or plans and then let them fizzle. Maybe that's what I was supposed to learn in 2006.
Doesn't New Years suck though? It's one holiday that is recognized the world over, celebrated in just about every culture but isn't as commercially whored like the others. No cards, presents, obligations, or vanity. Seems a lot more "real". That's why it sucks. Valentines Day is full of expectations and let downs. You expect your special someone to be there with you and shower you with crap to "prove" their love, or for some it's a reminder that they are hopelessly alone. You know going into Valentines Day what to expect given your current relationship status, good or bad. New Years on the other hand is a true romantics night. People come together with friends (and strangers) with a optimism and hope for "what could be", spirits are high and everyone's heart is light. Forget all the crap that has happen over the year, you can accomplish anything this go-around.
What's more attractive then hope, confidence, and a new found love for life? Whether you think this year will be any different then last, the future is untold and those around you glowing with anticipation is enough to make even the most jaded of us smile. That's why is sucks. It stirs emotions I wasn't prepared to face. It creates thoughts of the future which I've been avoiding. I'd face my issues on my own accord, but this holiday suddenly forces me deal with them now.
For instance, another ball drop and me quietly sipping champagne. Why is that? I'm convinced it's purely my own fault. I mean, I'm not perfect but I feel I have redeeming qualities that the opposite sex would find attractive (or at least tolerable). Am I afraid? Am I not ready to share a symbolic moment like that with someone? Am I holding on to the past or am I blinded by my expectations of the future? Maybe I'm just thinking too much? Guess 2006 taught me nothing...