Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Thoughts on Life; Lived or Wasted?

Twenty years ago, this April 5th, I made a decision. It was time to get on with it. I was thirty. Soon, I'll be fifty.

Somewhere, I can't remember where, I recently wrote about forty and a lesson taught to me in college by a favorite professor. When you hit your forties, that's it. That is what you've accomplished and that's pretty much where you will spend the rest of your life. Wherever you are on the ladder, that's your rung. Your climbing days are over.

No doubt many of you are poo-pooing this notion at this very moment. It goes against every flowery, bullshit, rehashed and repackaged, self-empowerment book you ever bought to convince yourself there was hope - that you could be more. It was a lie. That optimistic mysticism bought for 20% off was little more than a repackaged politician offering hope. All you had to do was donate, lean forward. You bought it, literally and figuratively.

Don't lie. I know you read, "What Color is Your Parachute." Well, I'm sorry, but if you're over forty your skydiving days are over too. And what the hell were you thinking using it as a guide for raising kids? Sorry. There I go again, digressing. (Mental Note - is this a sign of dementia? Make Dr. appointment).

I get it. It's not a great feeling to be shown the door to reality. It sucks. For those of you planning to see "After 40" in theaters anytime soon, here's a spoiler alert - it doesn't stop there. Each successive year reality grows a new head that's ugly, and wrinkled, and filled with conversations of doctor visits, death, and "kids these days." Holy $*&# kids these days(Mental Note - tell Dr. it's increasing).

Then, one day, one very scary crap yourself after a night of beer and tacos day, you wake up smelling of old age instead of sex and wonder what the fuck happened. Well, no fucks happened - that's what happened. But life certainly did, and to add insult to soiled flannel pajamas it did so with no push-back from you. That's the scary part.

Imagine sitting at some crappy desk in your typical on-air police station.  There's a German-American chick who is a serious cop, an Asian lady you're pretty sure is a statistician, a wise African-American cop, some Latino bad-ass who everyone obviously likes, a stiff lipped officer who must be from Internal Affairs, and the racist, homophobic, sexist pig, Irish-American, male cop who gets your case because nobody likes him and you're the dumb-ass "victim" who put a sign on his door stating, "Please come into my home and take everything I care about. There's cake in the fridge." This is what it feels like to wake up with the realization you're almost fifty and you've wasted three decades reading self-help books in search of that amazing (and profitable) inner you that never was actually there. (Ask Dr. if an MRI might reveal a hidden amazing inner me)

Yep, you're a human Oak Island with nothing to show for it but the scattered tailings of failed mining expeditions and a cancelled reality show. Of course, you probably hated mining, didn't like the location, and really hated asking investors for money, but you did it anyway because you were responsible. Does this sound remotely familiar?

If you're answering yes, I have news for you. You're fucked. You need help.

If you've spent any time on the internet I'm sure you've seen someone post a meme with the words, "From the day you're born you begin dying." It's a load of crap. If you are skilled in self-preservation you'll recognize this fraud as the one who is always attempting to sound deep.  She's the same person continually posting about "the right guy" and how she'll know when he arrives because he'll be sensitive, intelligent, and able to see how incredibly great she is. Holy crap! If any of you fall for that I'm coming over to take your stuff and eat your cake. (Note for Dr. - if I write "cake" too much will I get diabetes?)

You don't begin dying when you're born. Your soul starts cutting spars for a flight out of hell the day you quit living - real living. That's when death taps you on the shoulder, looks around to make sure you're alone, then leans gently into your ear as if to say, "I'm not wearing any underwear," but what you get instead is a disgusted, "Where's your fucking toys?" It's the most miserable day of any guy's life. Death thought she was getting a man but instead got you. 

There you were thinking you were about to get laid by some random Goth chick in a robe when BAAMM, Low-T arrives in the form of a question. Panic sets in. You've been mining while everyone else was living! Those days spent mowing a runway for others could have been spent flying. Remember the time you fought some airport board for pilots who didn't care enough to show up for their own meeting? You could have put that effort and money toward a Mangusta, driven it to some hinky festival, parked at a cafe, then sat outside to look at it while the wine snobs at the next table confirmed everything you ever thought about hipsters. (Question for Dr, are all wine snobs really born through the butthole?)

The day you realize what you've missed, how little time there is to set foot, poke your nose, or stick your finger in new places, that's the day the clock starts. How you react sets the pace. It's a limited time offer, you better act fast.

Somewhere out there is a life with your name on it, multiple switchbacks for your bike, a track for the car, an airworthiness certificate for your soul.

In an era of man-bashing this is often used to infer men are on
some lower level of maturity - that they are somehow inferior - when
it is actually an astute observation into the constitution of men,
who they really are, and what they need to be happy.

"Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night." - dylan thomas

April, 3 2018

1 comment:

TOGWTCO said...

I'm 73. I just hit "reset".