I’ve been doing a LOT of thinking over the last few months. I feel like I’m at a major crossroads in my life. Unlike previous crossroads, there’s a significant time component this time. I’ll be 54 in a couple of months, so I don’t have the luxury of making poor decisions that can be fixed later. There might not be a “later”.
Here’s the crux of my situation: everything is interesting but nothing matters.
When I think of what I’d like to be doing with my remaining years on Earth, the answer is “everything”. I like to write. I like play and listen to music. I like landscaping. I like working on cars. I think training dogs would be fun. Flipping houses seems like it’d be interesting. You get the idea.
On the other hand, none of that shit matters. Nothing matters. At some point, the human race will go extinct and/or the Sun will end its life and consume Earth. Taken in that context, absolutely nothing that any of us does has any meaning at all. It’s all going away one day.
That leads me to one conclusion; all I’m looking for is a palatable way to kill time. I mean…I’m here, so I might as well be doing something until I’m not here anymore.
The first thing I’m going to try is inspired by Seth Godin. He blogs every day, and has done for years. Some posts are long and detailed. Some are only a couple of short paragraphs. Unlike Seth, I don’t have any insight to share with you that might improve your life. Instead, I’m going to write my autobiography. Maybe you’ll find it funny sometimes. Maybe it’ll be sad or inspiring, or relatable, or boring. You can do whatever you want with it. It doesn’t matter because it’s mostly for me. I’m going to figure out how to automagically get it delivered to your inbox if you like that kind of thing.
I’m going to limit myself to 15 minutes per post, and it won’t be in chronological order. Let’s see how it goes.
OK? Here’s entry #1…
It was about 3rd or 4th grade, and a girl we all had a crush on was having a birthday party. I was standing with a group of friends (all boys), and she walked up to me and gave me an invitation. I didn’t know how to react. I was flattered, but also embarrassed because I figured all my friends would roast me for “having a girlfriend”. So I laughed in her face and tore up the invitation.
Immediately, I felt like an asshole. It bothered me for decades that I could treat someone like that. Earlier this year, I saw her at our annual Christmas gathering of people who’ve been friends for 40+ years. I took her aside and told her the story, ending with an apology. She didn’t remember the incident, but the fact that I did and had hung on to it for so long made her cry. In an unexpected twist, she felt bad for me because I felt bad for her.
I feel better for having apologized, and it allowed me to better understand that my words and actions are just as likely to hurt me as they are to hurt the person on the receiving end. As the saying goes, “Sticks and stones might break my bones, but words do permanent damage”. I just didn’t expect to be the one who sustained the damage. “Friendly fire”?
I hope I’m a better person now than I was in 3rd grade, but I honestly don’t think I am. I’m just flawed in different ways. We all are, but not enough of us seem to be aware of that. Fewer still are willing to admit to it and undertake any sort of steps to become better people.
It’s hard being human.