As much as I love music, I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know much about Neil Young. His voice is so unique its nearly impossible to mistake him for someone else when I hear him, but I couldn’t reel off countless songs of his while in conversation. There is one for sure though and it hits home harder than ever now that its 2017.
I’ll turn fiddy later this year. As will most of my homeys. Class of ’85 from AHS/PHS is hitting the half century mark. “Old man take a look at my life. I’m a lot like you.” Yep, I’ve moved from the opening chorus of “Old man look at my life. I’m a lot like you were,” to the middle one where I’m already the old man.
Fifty always seemed like the halfway mark but in reality, I’d be really lucky to live to 100 years old. I hit my half-life mark awhile back, I just didn’t realize it at the time. It went by like a soothing massage. I’m feeling good and loving life on the table; her hands kneading into the tough parts of my life hiding in a rude knot under my shoulder blade and she’s kicking its ass and I’m thinking about unicorns and skittles and then she says okay, time is up and I’m like, “Whaaaaaaaaaaaat? That was 90 minutes? We just started! Noooooooo. Its only been a half hour!” Where did the time go?
So yeah, I’m past the halfway point of my life. And I’m so goddamn grateful for where I am right now. My perspective and context evolves every day, however there are guideposts that smack me on the head more often than the low hanging objects that I seem to walk into every day. Three funerals in recent months. One of an old man. One of a young boy. And one of a thirty year old woman; my CMT that gave me 90 minutes of pure bliss once a month for the last few years. I used to ask her, “Where did the time go,” and now I’m sure her, the young boy and the old man could give me answers I’m not prepared to accept.
This life is a gift. And whether your fight is over Standing Rock or folding laundry on the stairs and somehow making it a battle royale like my boys did last night, there is much to cherish and everything to lose. So why not choose to be kind and appreciate the moment? I’ve made it past the halfway mark and I don’t want to feel nostalgic and reflect only when people die or something tragic happens.
I don’t want someone to criticize me for not supporting their cause or someone else to judge me for any of my many flaws (and I have a helluva lot of them) because it makes me feel bad. So I have to remind myself it is their issue they are projecting on me and that I don’t have to enable it or even react to it. I can choose where I put my energy. Its easy to forget when you are a sensitive dude that likes to please.
Why put out negative energy when you could be a young boy taking his last bike ride or an old man having his last meal with loved ones or a young woman laughing for the last time with her friend when instead you could be in the moment, appreciating all you have and wanting to share the gift of life with nothing but kindness.
With all this said, I’m guilty of being an asshole. Many times over. I’m still evolving and learning. I’m trying to be thoughtful and I’m trying to appreciate the moment. A friend asked me what my best part of the day was yesterday. I had trouble answering because I did chores all day, watched football and played a game with my kids for maybe a half hour. It was just one of those days of nothing momentous and not very family focused. Guiltily I said I guess it was the half hour I played a game with my kids. But then I corrected myself and said, “Really, I’m just grateful for this day.”
Okay, quick real-time side note while I’m literally writing this. My Spotify Best of 2016 playlist is on for the first time and Michael Franti’s “Good to be Alive Today” just came on. I kid you not. This shit is real people. There are tons of songs on this list and this song is waaaaaaaaay down the list and it comes on right now???????!!!!!!!
Here is the deal. My kids are really all that matter to me. However, they aren’t all that I care about, although they are far and away number one on that list. I care about lots. And sometimes negativity and bullshit get in the way of what I care about. I do pretty well realizing that and bouncing back. But death also gets in the way. Its hard to bounce back from that, especially if you are the one dying, right?
So I’m not going to take anything for granted. I’m turning fifty this year. So what. I’m turning a day greater tomorrow and a day even greater the next. I’m a lucky mofo. I’ve been sad for the old man, young boy and young woman. But I’ve also been happy for the love they gave and the love they received. It is all quite beautiful. Here is to the old man, the young boy and the young woman.
My mom cut this out and left it for me. I should stop making fun of that crazy wise old mama of mine.
Here is to being nostalgic and reflective for each and every day. Here is to celebrating those days, good and bad, with the good always bouncing back. Here is to the half-century mark. And here is to you, anyone that bothers to read my nonsense and perhaps smiles because we are lucky to know each other. Here is to this moment. Here is to being a day greater today.