Once, a little over a year ago, I wrote on this blog about how I was going to change. About how it was going to be different this time. I was going to be a better man, a better father, a better role model because I wanted to be around for my grandchildren and a whole host of other tired clichés . And here I sit, nearing what has to be the end of one of the most shitful years in memory and I’ve not only not lost the weight, but I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. Ever. There are linemen on professional football teams that weigh less than I do. And to what do I owe the honor of this reversal of fortune (besides no willpower and no impulse control)? Time. That bastard, that thief that steals your youth away in the night; that inexorable, implacable measurement of the passing of events that never changes, yet when we’re enjoying ourselves days pass by in the blink of an eye, yet minutes will crawl by as we suffer. It’s not to say that time made me fat, or forgot to install an “Off” switch to my hunger pangs, but that for the past year and more I’ve convinced myself that I have time. That I’ll get to it next week. That I’ll start exercising tomorrow. That the next time I go shopping, I’ll get all healthy food. That I still have time. Well, I call bullshit.
Earlier this year I was cleaning the basement out, a seemingly endless endeavor, and in the process I managed to drop my wife’s grandfather’s ceramic Christmas Tree. I think we all have a relative who has one of these things, they’re green, they have little plastic multicolored lights, and a light bulb. My gram had one too. Well, it’s one of the few things my wife has left of her grandfather. We managed to break a lamp of his as well, and here I broke this damn tree. It wasn’t my fault, I just had the unfortunate luck to be holding the box when the bottoms fell out. Long story short it was cost prohibitive to fix it, so after some researching, I started to fix it myself. It had about two dozen pieces of varying sizes, and I figured it out that if I could glue just one per night, I’d be done in a month, which meant that I’d need at least two months to do it, knowing my penchant for procrastination. Here it is, December 27th, and I’m only halfway done. My son didn’t have a tree in his room for the first time because I convinced myself I’d get to it. Kronos must have laughed himself silly.
And now, in this dumpster fire of a year, Princess Leia has died, along with a host of other idols and entertainers and people responsible for many a fond childhood memories, and it’s scared me. Not that others I loved in my youth will die (they will, eventually) or that I may die (I will, eventually), but that I’m finally running out of time. There were two other Star War movies that were supposed to star Princess Leia, but they’ve waited too long and both the Princess and R2 are now one with the Force. I’m scared because when I was twenty-two, I had a dream that all my favorite characters growing up, from Santa Claus to Spider-Man to Luke Skywalker, were in a warehouse together with me when three gangsters walked in and started killing them. All these fictional characters were being executed in front of me and somehow I was thrown into the mix. Eventually one of the thugs found me, pointed a gun at my head, and pulled the trigger. Now here I am, in this burning warehouse of a year, characters I loved are dying off at an alarming rate, and when that relentless marching fool comes for me, I won’t be able to scream myself awake.
None of this is to say that I see myself dying anytime soon, but when I saw that Carrie Fisher died today, I became acutely aware that nothing is promised to us, especially our time here on Earth. I knew it before, but I was never really aware of it like I feel it now. And it wasn’t just the death of Ms. Fisher that triggered it, a growing uneasiness has been looming over me ever since I started preparing for my wife’s 40th birthday party last month. I’d been going through pictures of her for a slide show and since I was in a fair number of those pictures, I was able to see the seemingly unstoppable progress of our waistlines. I finally came across a picture of the two of us from when we first started dating and I could not recognize myself. Or my wife. It was shocking, but I know with every inch gained I saw another memory made, another child reared, and another laugh line earned. My wife is a woman I love, and those pictures just rereaffirmed that, but our contentment with each other is also going to kill us. We are in a comfortable place, and when your comfortable, you feel like you have all the time in the world. Except we don’t.
This blog has been an occasional method of catharsis for me, but I’ve never really found a reason for it. A purpose. I think now it will be a place of change, of evolution, of stupid optimism. I don’t need your encouragement, nor commiseration. I’m not going to do this because I want to draw attention to it. I’m not going to tell you of my goals, because those are for me, this all is now for me. But it will be a place to document my journey, to see where I’ve been, because it’s not the destination that makes a person, that teaches you anything of value, it’s the voyage there that defines you. It’s how you get there that prescribes what kind of person you will be when you get to where you are going. I am doing this to see my journey in a way I know how, by writing about it. And if I happen to cheer someone up, make someone laugh, well bully for you. If you want to help, I don’t need cheerleaders, I just need you not to offer me dessert or a drink.
I hope to get where I am going. I hope to see you there. I hope that I am happy with the person I become. I hope.
(I hope Stephen King doesn’t sue me for copyright infringement)