First, a joke:
Descartes walks into a bar.
The bartender walks up to him and says, “Would you care for a drink?”
Descartes replied, “I think not” and disappeared.
This boy's birthday is tomorrow. December 18. I'll be thirty-eight years old. Now more than ever, I'm curious about topics like existentialism. There is purpose to all of these atoms of mine crashing into the atoms of others, right? Nakedness and touch, intimacy and trust - they bring to me a higher sense of being.
A year older and a year wiser? Maybe. If nothing else, I'm comfortable in my own skin. While I may be my own worst critic in many areas - as a father, as a husband, as an wage earner, I could be so much better - the best truth is that I am at peace with me. I love the music in my life that I am able to embrace and the pleasure I get from reading a good book knows no bounds. When I write, the words might not come together in the way that they would if I was better taught, but the words I choose are always honest. They serve their own purpose.
Half of my years ago, I was nineteen. I was young, but not too young to remember "the Queen of Soul." Becker and Fagen weren't writing about me. People my age tend to ruminate and say things like "where have all of the years gone?" Maybe I'll ask that question on another birthday, but it all seems played out quite fairly for now. I really do feel as if I've lived nineteen years twice. If the first nineteen were all about growing up and going to school, then what were the following nineteen about?
I've certainly put in a lot of work hours. I've delivered your pizzas, sold you your CDs and cassette tapes at the record store, "up sold" you your luggage and briefcases at the luggage store in the mall, and now I carry your bags when you check-in at your hotel. In romance, I've loved from afar and I've loved with abandon. I've loved some of the wrong people and some people were wrong to have fallen in love with me. Both experiences have brought me tears. Both have taught me life lessons.
Now that I have a family, the struggles mean so much more, but the rewards are so much richer. I'm just a good job away from the seemingly perfect life. It could happen. My yearnings seem so overwhelming sometimes. I'd like to understand the great philosophers well enough to formulate my own profound philosophy. I would like for my wife to not have to work and be able to stay at home with the kiddos while I'm doing great things and bringing home big money. I'd like to write of my love for her on the beautiful (and published!) level that Adam Gopnik writes of his, or that Calvin Trillin (About Alice) or Rob Sheffield (Love Is A Mixtape) write of theirs.
I share a birthday with Keith Richards (on how he keeps fit, "Passing the vodka bottle. And playing the guitar.") and with Steven Spielberg ("I dream for a living."). The very funny and very missed Chris Farley died on Dec. 18, 1997 ("Basically, I only play one character; I just play him at different volumes.") Life is beautiful, but it can also be way too fleeting.
As the late Warren Zevon said, "Enjoy every sandwich." Maybe it really is that simple.