They say that you are only as old as you feel. That’s frightening to me. It doesn’t give me much hope, because I feel decidedly well-aged, especially considering my mere 32 years.
Maybe it was better said that you only get as old as the callous on your soul. Is that why I feel so old?
Am I hard? Yeah, and not in good ways. I’m no diamond, though the hardness has indeed been brought on by pressure. Excuses? Nah, just facts. Even my kid tells me that I’m stone-hearted. He thinks that he’s funny, and frankly so do I, but he isn’t just spewing nonsense. He’s right.
I’m hard, and I’m cold, and I’m bitter.
And I don’t need you telling me that I’m wrong. I already know it.
Maybe you think I’m being dramatic, that this is just too much, that I’m not so bad. Thanks, but you’re wrong.
I walk that fine line between faking it and not caring if you see through me anymore. But I usually fake it. Everyone likes looking well put together. Everyone wants to look stable and balanced. But everyone’s not.
Maybe you’re not.
Part of it, like the song says, is that the years are unkind, and as we go, we realize that we won’t live forever. Death is a nasty reality, and it’s also a hungry monster that will take you someday. Hopefully, you have lots of time left, but the older you get, the less time you have. And you can’t see the countdown until it’s too late.
I’m want to feel like I’m closer to the start than to the end.
I want to be carefree. I want to ignore my responsibilities, live in the moment, and just be free of the burdens that weigh me down. It’s not that I don’t enjoy these weights. I just don’t want to be beholden to them. I just want to sit down with my chicken and have a cigarette, or something…
That’s selfishness, by the way.
However, in the midst of everything, I do find a spot of joy in my labors. My family is work to be sure, but it’s good work, and I love it.
And really, I’ve got a lot of living left to do, and I think that’s part of the problem.
Don’t misread that. I’m not saying that I just wish I would die already. That’s not the point at all. It’s more of a pessimistic outlook at my potential. Mom always said that I could grow up and be whatever I wanted to be. Lawyer, psychiatrist, or mediocre blogger; nothing was beyond my reach. And she was right. I’ve got a lot of potential. We all do.
But having potential is a waste if it remains merely potential. You’ve got to turn that potential into progress, and until you do, even your potential is burdensome.
It’s why artists are so depressed. They’ve got a lot to offer to the world, but nobody seems to care until after they die, so they struggle through their craft, doing what they can between shifts at the convenience store and dream of what could be. Your potential is useless unless you use it up.Each day comes to me with both hands full of possibilities. —Helen Keller Click To Tweet
It’s a great quote, and it’s true every single day except for one, and on that day, death comes with his hands full of a sickle and a burlap sack, and you might never see him coming. Helen Keller sure didn’t. (Sorry… bad joke…)
We can’t wait for tomorrow to see what might come. Tomorrow is full of potential to be sure, but tomorrow might not be full of you.
If reading this post is the last thing you ever do, are you satisfied? Forget what you’d do if you only had one week to live. Pretend your week started 7 days ago, entirely unbeknownst to you. This is it. Lights out.
Is this enough for you?
That was a single post in a series, celebrating individual songs from one of my favorite bands, The Classic Crime, and their album “Phoenix” (available here). It is my hope that whether you like the band or not, there will be something in the posts that will resonate with you.
I don’t intend to go through all 13 tracks, but I’ll be doing several of them. Among other things, these posts express my anticipation for their next album, scheduled for release in early 2017. I’m probably more excited than a grown man should be for something like this, but I’m okay with that.