Note: I wrote most of this exactly one year ago, on New Year’s Eve, 2012. And then I put it away. One year, Gone. Reading it again right now makes me feel like Westley after Count Rugen first used the Machine on him. Skip to 1:23 for the meat.
Tick fucking tock. Two hours and thirteen, er, twelve minutes from now, another year goes down the drain. Not really of course, it’s actually just another day coming to a close. But it just so happens to be the day that we choose to mark the passage of yet another trip around the sun. Which is also the means by which most of us measure our lives. Years, months, days, hours: Time. Here’s the thing though- Time is a cruel sum-bitch.
It just keeps going. It doesn’t matter if you’re happy or sad, rich or poor, in love or lonely, Time just keeps ticking away. In a hurry? Tick tock. On vacation? Tick tock. Trying to figure out what to do with your life? As Jesse Pinkman might say: Tick tock, bitch.
The beauty and the tragedy of Time is that it actually isn’t cruel at all, it’s just totally Indifferent to you and everything around you. Time simply doesn’t care. But it’s going to kill you anyway. Don’t take that the wrong way, it’s going to kill me, too. Not much to be done about it.
So what is it that we celebrate on New Year’s Eve, anyway? Is it just that we’re still alive? I suppose that’s part of it. I think that deep down, we all know it could end at any moment. Heart attack, slip and fall in the shower, schizoid embolism, whatever. It’s something we are all completely aware of, but almost never talk about. But I think it’s more than just being alive that tonight’s revelry is all about. It’s a celebration of a new beginning. A chance to start over with a clean slate. Another go at the lives we used to imagine but have long since given up on. One more shot at the title, no matter how much we already know we’re going to throw in the towel at the first sign of a struggle, like we always do. Slim chance is still a chance.
Because we never really reach for that brass ring, do we? We put our hands up and sorta kinda make a stab at it, sure. But half assed and short lived “New Years Resolutions” about losing weight or spending more time with friends or chasing our dreams and less on Facebook are not really the pinnacle of what we hoped our lives would be, are they? Wait, are they?!?
For most of us, we’re just flailing our arms a little bit and maybe sometimes standing on a chair trying to reach that thing we really want when, if we could overcome our fear of failure, we’d be chopping wood and hammering nails and building a fuckin’ skyscraper to get it. And if that wasn’t enough, we’d be studying engineering and other math-type shit so we could build a rocket ship to the moon to get us up high enough to grab what we want. Fuck! Why do we refuse to truly go after the things we truly want? Why do we invent other things that we know we can achieve and replace our real Goals with them? Why do I use “we” throughout this rant when I should most likely just be using “I”? Same answer for all of ‘em: It’s easier.
Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not knocking the idea of losing weight or spending less time on social media- the ideas themselves are fine, but how often do they truly last and make any real difference in our lives? And even more important than that- who gives a shit if you lose weight or spend less time on Facebook? Don’t you have some bigger dream somewhere deep inside you that you’ve been quashing for years out of fear of failure? Something a little bigger than just having abs? I sure as fuck do. And now at 40, er, 41 now, I can practically feel it trying to eat its way out from inside of me. Trying somehow to break free into the world and leave this shitty host body behind. Or, maybe it’s just me. Maybe everyone else on the planet is doing exactly what they’ve always dreamed of. Seems unlikely, though.
The funny thing is that, in a lot of ways, I actually am living exactly the life I imagined. I’ve been successfully self-employed for the last 15 years and am now a partner in a booming company that makes an awesome product I believe in and I get to work with great people everyday. But was that really the Dream? Nah, not really. It was high on the list, it just wasn’t Number One, that’s all. I’m well aware that I’m luckier than most in terms of what has come my way so please don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful and I am grateful to be so lucky, but it’s still not the Dream. The Dream is bigger than that. What to do, what to do? Jesse Pinkman would know how to answer that question.
OK, now here I am a year later on NYE 2013, reading this, realizing I wasted a good chunk of the last twelve months (not all of them by any means) and still trying to figure it all out. Here’s the only thing I know for sure: I’m going to be dead soon and there’s a bunch of shit I still want to do. I don’t mean “dead soon” like I have six months to live or something, but what’s the best-case scenario? 40 or 50 years? Sounds pretty fucking soon to me. In light of this knowledge, I’ve decided to do a bunch of those Things. Because, you know, why the fuck not?
I knew. I knew 12 months ago what was working and what wasn’t. And I didn’t do much about it. I didn’t do nothing, but I didn’t do much. My guess is that’s true for a lot of people. Well, it’s time to do something. In fact, I think it might be now or Never. Because the Truth of it is, if I got hit by a bus tomorrow, and lay sprawled out on the road, breathing my last few breaths, thinking my last thoughts, finally realizing that time was up, that I wouldn’t ever get around to this stuff, that my chance was over, I would probably die screaming.
And I don’t want that.
I kinda feel like I owe it to this kid to chase his Dreams for him.
So, why have I waited so long to do things that I really want to do? Well, odds are that I’m probably going to suck at a bunch of them, at least for a while. That’s always been the stumbling block for me. I’ve never much enjoyed being lousy at stuff. I suppose that’s why I start a lot of things and don’t finish them, don’t see them through long enough to really find out what might be possible. I certainly did it with acting and stand-up, two of my most favorite things in the whole world. I started, had some success and some failure, and then got scared. What if I really work at it and don’t make it? Pretty pathetic, eh? My fear of failure, of being embarrassed has kept me from living the life I imagined. Well, seems to me, it’s better to be embarrassed once in a while than to never be anything at all.
Because in the end, what is life for but doing and seeing and hearing and trying and tasting and feeling and being as many different things as you can? A ship is safe in harbor but that’s not what ships are for- all that kind of shit, right? Right.
Tick Tock, bitch.