It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves. – Shakespeare
Half a decade, sixty months, 5% of a century or how every you would like to represent it numerically. It doesn’t matter. Humans like seeing patterns and five just seems to scream its aesthetic value to us.
From the past, the future of five years seemed vast and never ending. Go ahead and ask yourself where you were five years ago- physically and metaphysically. What were you doing? Your plans? Your friends? Who did you admire, crush on, love or hate? Where did you live? What did you know?
In five years, who has lived and died? Who has gone from your life without kicking the bucket? Who got kicked out? Who did you trust? Did you think God was still there? Is he now?
What’s happened around you? Where has the world gone? What’s changed? Have you?
I have. Or at least, I believe that I have.
I must have since five years ago I’d never seen a naked girl in person. Five years ago I had just written my first short story and an open mic was just a daydream of the future, let alone doing 15 minutes opening for a member of Saturday Night Live.
I had never touched a cigarette aside from hiding or throwing out my mother’s. I never hosted a radio show aside from that one my best friend and I made up in 1st grade on those bus rides home. We would pretend to be callers with names like Seymour Butts and would sing the songs ourselves. We I’m famous, this will be seen as brilliant. As of now, it seems like I should have been medicated as a child.
I couldn’t grow a mustache and had never worn a real kilt. I hadn’t fallen in love with and on St. Patrick’s Day. I hadn’t walked down a Brooklyn street with a freshly broken heart at 5am, Tom Waits singing in my ears and whiskey and beer heavy on my breath.
I couldn’t wait to turn 18. Now I can’t believe I’m going to be 23. In five more years, I’ll probably have a crisis about how close 30 is. In 100 years, I’ll hopefully be dead. You probably will be too. We could be dead in five but I hope that’s less likely.
Four of the past five trips around the sun were the best and last years I had ever spent in school. The last five years I feel I had learned more about myself than in the previous seventeen. That may just be perspective, but from where I’m looking I can see more of those years than anything predating them.
We hope that each year makes us stronger and smarter. And by we, I mean me. And by me, I mean I have seen things in the last split decade that were never anything but fantasy prior. That includes the tragedies, traumas and downfalls just as much as those grand and glorious glimpses at bliss. I want to say that the happy times will last longer than the bad, but those revelations regarding mortality I’ve had will hang around until I’m facing down my own, I’d imagine. Some things can’t be forgotten, even if it would be better to let them go.
For now, I work at the college that I recently graduated from. They had the first new student orientation today and yesterday and as the go-to A/V guy on campus, my participation was forced for the sake of microphones and video presentations. These young men and women are of the same age and generation of a few of the kids I used to teach karate to. To me, I saw mostly young slutty girls and dopey, dipshit young men. I don’t figure they see themselves as such. They never do.
But when I wore the shoes they find themselves in, a young man, all foolish and doe-eyed was far too excited, wore the same skin wrapped around me now. He was starved of fresh experience. He wanted to dive in head first, smiling a shit-eating grin from ear to ear. And he did. Eat shit, that is.
He ended up getting tossed around by the first current that caught him. Dripping wet with saltwater and hints of blood, I discovered how shallow the water can be at times. You know, like a metaphor and junk.
From there I made a monster, who very much like the one made by Dr. Frankenstein, was adored by his creator. The difference is that lots of other folks seemed to like my monster too. He was charming, talented and good looking- and for a time he was unaware of it. Though that didn’t last and the monster was let loose into the world, some part of that doe-eyed young fool could never die.
He still hasn’t. And although he doesn’t make as many decisions as he used to, he still makes many of the important ones. So perhaps, despite all the thoughts and sights of change, the core remains the same. Or similar, at least. I do hope that some minuscule part of who I was as a young man hangs around for all my days. I wouldn’t want to become totally lost.
But what do I know of time and all it’s comings and goings? I couldn’t even tell you everything that happened yesterday, so forget about what will happen tomorrow.
I don’t know man. Happy birthday, or whatever.