July 4, 2006

What I meant was...

When you turn 40 you're supposed to take a long hard look at your life, both back down the road traveled and up ahead to see what the traffic is like; if you're lucky/talented/rich both lanes could be smooth and clear, with fresh blacktop and no speed limit, easy to read road signs (children 3 miles, stock split 12 miles), no boneheads cutting you off so you miss an exit and have to make a u-turn at the next one, 8 years and a divorce down the road. If you're like most people (which most of are, hence the term) you look back at a twisted path of potholes and hills, up and down and up and down and how did we make it over that last mountain, how did we make it through that 7 car pile-up? The road ahead doesn't appear any more clear, the construction crews are still laying asphalt and through the clutter and haze there's no telling which way the turns will take us.

But we have to look.

I don't want to. I repeat my mantra of "no regrets, no worries" and appreciate the moment, enjoy where I am and what I have right now. Not one of us is promised tomorrow, right? But there must be an innate self-review board, triggered by the 40 candles to convene and take stock. This Internal Committee reviews photos and press clippings, culls highlights for a video montage, and takes a red Sharpie to The Checklist of Goals and Achievements. Hmmm, not a lot of checks in my accomplishment column, and actually there are quite of few items completely crossed off the list with the notation "not ever gonna happen" ...although to be fair some of those goals were stretches from the beginning, involving Heisman trophies and/or an entire crew of flight attendants. So again I try to avert my eyes, focus my gaze any direction but inward, even though the introspection enzyme is already coursing through my bloodstream, compelling me to rank and rate Past Present and Future.

So as I Ebenezer my way through my life, I have to narrow the search or be overwhelmed. Actually underwhelmed would be more accurate, or simply room temperature-whelmed. It's been ok, nothing to brag or wail about, and that's the way I like it. But I can't get away with it, the ghosts don't let me pull the covers over my head and fake snore until they leave, I have to actually get up and take a look at where I've been and what I've done, how the whole Consequences concept shakes out. As Dad always said every action needs an equal yet opposite reaction ...or was it every action gets a reaction so act fast ...? Something like that. Really, I was listening.


twobuyfour said...

ZuZu's petals! Remember Jimmy Stewart in It's A Wonderful Life? Sometimes (not just today) you remind me of his character. You're the selfless type who makes everyone around him feel safe and loved and comfortable to grow and try new things. It's been a while since I saw it (I'm not one of those who needs to watch IaWL every Christmas - I lean towards Scrooged instead) but I think he was always planning to take some big trip - to get away for a while. Unfortunately he kept putting others ahead of himself and silently suffering. Frankly, I always thought he got a raw deal. You should be able to be selfless and generous AND pamper yourself and try to achieve your lifelong goals.

Life doesn't end at 40. You should have about 60 years left. The last 20 aren't going to be all that great, but you should have about 40 more good years in which to write the Great American Novel, travel Europe and the South Seas, and find a cure for cancer. You'll probably never win a Heisman, but flight attendants are still attainable, though probably not all they're cracked up to be.

JK said...

Never have seen the Wonderful Life, but did screen Harvey for the boys the other night; I think #3 kept trying to actually see Harvey, especially if something moved. Ol' Elwood reminded me of the Duke, friendly and welcoming to all, a bit daft, enjoys his libations on a very regular basis.