Monday, March 30, 2015

Arriving Safely at an Awful Destination

There are, of course, the obstacles to consider. A million and one reasons why not. An entire book on being practical and settling for what quietly kills you in the name of caution. If you're not sure where to find this book, ask one of your parents, it's probably on their nightstand. This field guide to playing it safe is passed down through the generations.

It's an old book. Ancient. It is loaded with meticulously documented side notes about everything you've ever failed at, the times you were wrong, the projects left unfinished. It is written in your genetic code, replicated in your DNA. It has verses on being realistic and waxes poetic about not getting your hopes up. 

It holds the generations and their death-bed laments, because that is what we do. We put off our biggest dreams, quiet our most burning desires, and we do what it is we think we must do instead of risking whatever it is we think is on the line if we dared to pursue a satisfying life. We put off the lives we want until we have put them off for so long that life has run out. We surrender to death long before the diagnosis is at hand. And we shrug our shoulders and wring our hands, claiming that the "if only," and "I wish I had" scenarios weren't possible, even though we never bothered to find out.

I want to burn that fucking book. I want to ban it from the inner sanctum of my psyche, watch the pages go up in flames Fahrenheit 451 style, and declare it obscene and immoral. I want to rewrite the code, and leave something less murderous as a guidebook for the generations.

I don't want to hear one more word about being realistic or accepting what is. Don't hand me your soiled laundry list of all of the ways I could fail. As if I haven't already. As if it killed me. As if I'm still not right here after failing more times than I can count. Don't say it like failing could be any worse than being seventy-seven years old and thinking about what could have been, and how god damn average and ordinary the last forty years were, because I played it safe, not pursuing the life I wanted, out of fear of disappointment. Jesus, Mary, and all things holy, please tell me what could possibly be more disappointing than that?

I have considered the obstacles.  I have considered them at length. And I consider them nothing more than a stutter as I find my silenced yearnings, pull them from my throat, and shout out the one reason I have to do this and I have to do it now. I cannot wait another minute to begin.

I am never going to arrive at some magical, all conditions are perfect, now is the right time. No, not in a few years. No, not when the kids are grown. Not after retirement, hell no. Most certainly not someday. Now. This is my life and I am living it now.


  1. True to the heart and experience of so many of us, Mani. Thank you for sharing this so-real confidence. It brings us all closer.