Blog · August 22, 2016 0

The days chased each other like kittens chasing their tails

The title is taken from a H.L. Mencken essay. He was writing about notable Baltimore cops. He used the line to describe his youth and I’m borrowing it now by way of nodding to my own youth.  My 48th birthday has gently come and gone.

I had lunch with one of my bros. His birthday is the day before mine. He says he uses his birthday as a time to re-evaluate his goals, to check in and see how his life is different or not from the year before. I’ve kind of fallen out of the habit of re-assessing big life goals. I’m happier these days just to drift like one might do on a lazy summer afternoon in a canoe down a meandering river.

I could ask myself the big life questions, but I am of no mind to. My life is what it is in the here and now. That’s not to say that my life is perfect or anything. In fact, it’s far from it. But then, what is the perfect life? Does such a thing exist?

These days I live my life much like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. I cross my bridges when I come to them and burn them behind me, with nothing to show for my progress except the memory of the smell of smoke, and the presumption that once my eyes watered.

That’s not as bleak as it may sound. In fact, it’s liberating. I’m mostly free of remorse, nostalgia, anxiety and hope. And being free of these awful things allows me to experience life as it unfolds before me.  Occasionally I slip into one of those four states. But then, like Dorothy, I click my heels three times.

Be here NOW.  Be here NOW.  Be here NOW.

Let the drama go.

Most of the people around me seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere.  I have to fight the urge to be another lemming in this suicidal race.  It’s funny, our relationship with time.  There’s a great tendency for us to want to speed time up or slow it down.  And sometimes, even to reverse it.  Logically we know we can’t. Yet we waste a ton of present time trying to do it anyway.  It’s the curse of being a domesticated primate with a capacity to imagine something that doesn’t exist.  And not only to imagine it, but to be consumed by the feelings as if what’s in our imagination is real.

I’ve lingered on this subject too long.  Time to go do something real like push a stupid amount of weight off of my chest.


The actual line spoken by Guildenstern in the Tom Stoppard play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is: “We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except the memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”