Friday, January 02, 2009

How Did I Get Here?

It seems like only yesterday, I was drunkenly stumbling through the York Road McDonald's parking lot telling anyone who would listen that I would be dead by the time I was twenty-five. Stupid me. I hadn't even graduated university by the time I was twenty-five (I wonder if it had anything to do with the drunken stumbling?). I suppose if you judged by my high-risk behavior in those years, I had an even chance of being right. I am fortunate that I was wrong. I am most fortunate that I grew up before any of my stupid behaviors resulted in truly unfortunate outcomes. The fates look out for children, drunks, and fools, and I have been one or more at any given time in my life.

I bring up this parking lot moment because I think about it often. Why did I feel that way? I suppose, on one hand, I was just being a drunken loud mouth. On another hand (we're dealing with more that two hands here--Shiva-logic), I imagine I was exhibiting a youthful dread of the future; on yet another hand, I was embracing the Romantic notion of "living fast and dying young." Whatever reason I may have had for this remark, it has never left me. This is a noteworthy phenomenon, since I have very little reputation for remembering things said or done, be they ten minutes or ten years ago. Just ask Monkey.

The point here being, for every year I click past that arbitrarily portended twenty-five, I thumb my nose at my young and stupid self. It isn't like I have done anything special. All I have done is manage another lap around the sun. Billions of others have done it, as well. It's not special. Except that it is.

I would rather not spend your time (and mine) pontificating on the preciousness of life. I am not going to tell you that I am a "carpe diem" kind of guy. I spend too much time reading to expect anyone to believe that. I am not a grab life by the horns, bungee-jumping, bull-running thrill seeker. However, I am happy every day to wake up and get another shot at being me.

Since that break point of twenty five, I have managed to do some things that I am proud of, I have managed to find a career that is worth doing every day, I have found a person worth being with every day, and, most of all, I have begun to learn who I am. It takes a while. At least, it's taken me a while. And, best of all, the more I get to know myself, the easier it is to know and understand others. This, too, like aging itself, is no great feat. Anyone can do it, but not everyone does. I guess I am just happy to be able.

Anyway, I am forty, today. According to Vital Statistics, I have about thirty years left. That's a bit sobering, but, using my grandparents as examples, I think I'll have a few more than that. Of course, it's not how much you have in front of you, so much as it is what you do with what you have. Today, I am going to a movie and eating some Indian food. And, I am going to enjoy as much as I humanly can.


comoprozac said...

Happy birthday, old man!

La Fashionista said...

Hey, I remember you from that McDonald's parking lot! I was like, who's this "end is near" fool and why's he trying to steal my crack fries?! Do you remember how I slapped you upside the head with a chicken nugget and told you always to remember this moment on all future birthdays? And always to put fashion first? It was what you might call a real-world problem.

Wow, I've always wondered who that guy was and what happened to him. Finally, now I know....

Happy birthday, Reda! I'm glad to have helped influence 25-year-old you and, on another Shiva hand, to know 40-year-old you.


boring election said...

Happy Birthday Tony.

And holy shit...that BEARD!!!! You are even more legit at 40 than you were at 39.

Keep kickin' ass.