The End is Near(er)
Why are we so obsessed with milestones? 1st Birthday, 1st Anniversary, 50th Anniversary, sweet 16, puking 21, the ‘big’ three-oh, 65 (if you make it) and retired. Then there’s annual favorite: New Years. It’s just another day – an often cold, dreary day. However, in our whimsical, fantastic, and confused minds, it becomes a fleeting chance to reclaim our lives and a starting, stopping, stop-starting, or start-stopping milestone day. The ONLY day to make changes. This is ridiculous.
As a kid, my family and I would have our famous New Year’s treat – crackers, cheese, and pepperoni. Don’t ask me why, but to this day pepperoni is just that: New Years’ food. I’d get to stay up until midnight and watch Dick Clark (who only ages one day per year by the way) bring in the New Year. There, all snug in front of a roaring fire, we’d watch the music flavors of the month and a million freezing New Yorkers worship a clock and a giant light bulb. And we think the druids had strange rituals.
Anyhow, as I got older, we began discussing this whole notion of resolutions. As in “Now that the magical day of change is upon us, we must gather our thoughts and chisel our new life wishes into the granite tablet of time so that we may reap many blessings.” Yes, once a year we sometimes actually think about the direction of our life. What am I doing? Where am I going? And I’m trying not to think about what happened!
It’s all bull. Totally. There’s no difference between today and New Years (except Dick Clark is still in stasis at the moment.) We have a habit of saying the I’m-gonna-some-days which only turn into shoulda-woulda-couldas. Not to go new-agey on you, but we only have now. Except now is gone in the last sentence. And with each word, we creep into the future. And then you’ll click something else, and go get a coffee….time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking, into the living room. And your same life is still there.
Nothing changes until we make a decision and follow through. There are no beginnings or ends or ‘finales’ unless we declare them. See, that’s where it gets scary – we have to admit we’re responsible. “What? For this mess? My life’s not my fault!” We think it’s our mom, dad, brother, teacher, neighbor, circumstances, yada-yada. Fine, I understand, been there and done that. Guess what? I’m an adult now and so are you (unless you’re still a kid – but that’s no excuse.) If we can give our power away to an excuse, then we can also have the power to take a stand and say, “Screw it! I’m fed up and I’m going to change.”
Every breath we take we get closer. Closer to what? The end of our life. Two weeks ago, we buried a dear friend and mentor of mine who died in his prime at the young age of 55. His life was all about helping others and inspiring them to do their best. His life is summed up in three words: integrity, love, and humor. What three words do you want to be remembered by?
Life is really a series of beginnings. Each minute – no – each second is an opportunity to start again. There’s only one end: death. “It’s too late,” is a cursed sentence reserved only for those unfortunate souls in the cemetery. Forget all of these trivial milestones – yes, celebrate life, celebrate achievement. But remember, the only true thing that exists is this very second. And then it’s gone.