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Current Mood: full
Uh oh, two Fight Club quotes in the last three blog titles. Either Chuck Palahniuk has the meaning of life all sewn up, or I’m in trouble.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks, kiddies. Work’s been kicking my ass, and I’ve been busy even on nights when I stay home. Certain people I know turned 30. What else? I did make it out to a few good shows lately, too many to remember maybe, but a few that come to mind are local bands The Tunnel (finally!), Jesse Morris and the Man Cougars (again… fuckin’ great!), and a psychobilly night. Speaking of shows, there are a ton of good ones coming up. This weekend is Wanda Jackson and Morrissey. Then further out, I see the ridiculous Red Elvises (whom I’ve seen once before), the New York Dolls, and then… A Camp! That’s right, the Cardigans’ frontwoman’s side project from 2001 has a second album coming out (finally), and they’re touring the U.S. for the first time ever. June at the Independent. Should be excellent! I’ve been listening enjoying that new album, as well as getting back into Radiohead a little. (I have Lala to thank for first forcing me to get into them many years ago, and in hindsight, it really was for the best.)
For Easter, I went to see the family… which also meant I had to / got to chase my nieces all over the house. Kids are fun, but a couple hours of that wore my ass out. Due to accidents, I hit awful traffic on the way there and would have on the way back too had I not made the executive decision to take Highway 1 back up to SF. Yes, it was a bit longer, but what a stunning reminder of how much I do not make the most out of living in the beautiful Bay Area. Miles and miles of amazing views, and more than a few small and secluded beaches, made all the more romantic by the sun going down as I sped past. Can you imagine a sunset on what is for all intents and purposes your own private beach… ladies? Hmmm? Ladies?
Speaking of “ladies,” Sus is back from her Moz tour, with lots of stories, pictures, and all the latest swag. Shel is back from her triathlon in Hawaii, a trip which was — it seems — tailored to make me feel like I’m wasting my life. Benjamin, what did you do this weekend? Eh, I sat on my ass and straightened my apartment up a little bit. How about you? Oh, I competed in a triathlon. In Hawaii. Betch. Thanks a lot, Shel! 😛
In my straightening up of my place, I started getting rid of a lot of stuff. I carried a lot of shit with me when I left home, and I’m really ready to leave that packrat lifestyle behind. All that junk just weighs you down, and you’ll be dead long before you need any of it. So here I was, shredding all these notes, documents, and work I’ve done over the years. Throwing out reference sheets and training manuals for old jobs. It feels weird to be getting rid of stuff. Some part of me all these years has said (and still says) keep it, but what have I learned this last year? I will never need it, life is too short, there’s no time to look back. If I ever need a training manual for the software I worked on for a living in 2002, I can buy it again. And more to the point, if I ever find myself needing it again to begin with, that should tell me I’m going the wrong direction in my life. I never want to do that stuff again. I’d rather change industries completely, move to another state (or country!) just because hell! I only have one life to live. Why spend so much of it doing the same thing in the same place? On my death bed, don’t I want to be able to look back and say that I tried a little of everything? I don’t want to spend a whole decade of my precious lifespan beating my head against the same wall. Go drive a cab in Florida. Go tend a bar in Mexico. Go sell books in Ireland. I don’t know. Anything. Anything, however unlikely and unconventional, just for the sake of really truly exploring all the directions your life could take if you didn’t just settle for what’s obvious and easiest like we all fucking do. And before you know it, *poof* you’re old and what have you got to show for it? Nothing but years of doing the same thing in the same city, state, whatever.
Sorry to get all heavy there. But this is important. One of the things I came across (and kept) was a card from my mother dated 1994… literally half my life ago. I would have been 15. It’s a long card describing all the possibilities she saw for me, for the life that at age 15 was still just beginning, with all the things that as a mother she hoped for me, her only son. The most sacred bond between mother and child. It ends with “I hope it’s a good life.”
When I read that again after 15 years, the weight of that statement is crushing. It sounds like what her last words to me would be if she knew she only had one sentence left. I think about all that’s happened since then, where I am in life, and I feel an awesome responsibility to seek out my own happiness and not waste the opportunity I’ve been given at life. A responsibility to myself, but also to her and to the people that have sacrificed over decades to put me where I am at this moment. A responsibility to all the people that care about me. A responsibility to see that hope realized. Yes, it’s been a good life, but I’ve been lazy and taken it for granted, and it could be much, much better. And no one is bound nor able to see to that but me.
“I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist.”
— Jack London