Saturday, July 16, 2005

Today Is The First Day Of What's Left Of Your Life

I was listening to an interesting interview with Iggy Pop the other day in which he said that he saw his career as a series of seven-year cycles. He declared that he had just entered his last one, as he will be 65 when it ends and it will then be time to reconsider his options.

But for now, he said, "I’m a loaded gun."

I suppose all of us have these kind of life markers, even if they’re not as evenly spaced as those of Mr. Osterberg. It may be a change of career or change of location, perhaps meeting someone who changes your life or having children.

I still haven’t any idea how I got as old as this so quickly. It’s true what everyone says: Life is short. Much shorter than you ever realized. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, etc. Seize the damn carpet.

I may not have accomplished much, but considering how completely disinterested and disenfranchised I’ve felt where the rest of humanity is concerned, it feels like a small triumph to have gotten this far. I could never see a place for myself or a road that might lead there. I’ve drifted like a cork bobbing on the water. I had no interest in where I would end up. And somehow I made it to 50.

Well, knock on wood.

Of course, now I understand that part of it was depression, which clouded my ability to see any future for myself. And that’s sort of under control now. But I do have certain regrets and questions about what might have been. With the wall visible in the distance, it’s time to, like Mr. Pop, reconsider my options.

The wife and I took the day off today to go to our respective doctor appointments. There I was in the waiting room with the new bifocals, like any other middle-aged man. When I was ushered in, I told him how the depression seemed to be creeping back some and how the CPAP machine didn’t seem to be helping me as much as it did at first and how I felt a renewed sense of fatigue.

This is how it begins, I thought. The home stretch.

I can understand both those who eventually become tired of fighting and those who fight for every last ounce of breath.

On the way home I listened to a Tom Waits tape and, after being astonished at the fact that it was now 30 years since its original release, I thought about how easy it used to be to wallow in its booze-and-ciggie sadness.

While it was playing, I passed a billboard advertising Pennsylvania roadtrips that declared, RELEASE YOUR INNER KEROUAC!

It made me laugh for all kinds of reasons, which I’ll leave to you.

Watch out, folks. I’m a loaded gun.


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