When I was a kid, like so many of us, I used to dream about the future. Where would I be in thirty years; what would I be doing?
Who would I be?
I find myself using Star Trek: The Next Generation technology on a daily basis; The world political stage is just as chaotic and draconian as any universe penned by Phillip K. Dick, George Orwell or Robert Heinlein. Every day, we seem to get a little closer to a world where Mad Max could be an actual person, in a world where the sky has been burned, we’ve run out of time, water, resources and hope.
My wife often worries about the world that we’re leaving for our children, and our children’s children, should they be lucky enough to still have world that would sustain their continuation. It’s real, her fear. It’s immediate, and pressing, and frightening.
And then I look at my sons, my two beautiful sons; both full of love, and wonder, and able to think, and embrace ideas and change, and imagine. I sometimes wonder if they’ll fix our problems, or have to bear the brunt of it, and ride the storm until it’s end, whatever that might be.
Will they have to fight for every inch? For their humanity? For the rights of others to survive and be? For my mistakes? For me?
When I was a kid, the nights used to seem eternal, and not unlike my son, I would ask “How much longer until the day comes?” I’d wonder how much longer would it be before It’d be my turn to wake when I wanted, sleep when I wanted and to do the things that I wanted.
I’m forty two and I find myself, not for the first time in the last decade, when that time would finally come.
Sometimes I hold on tightly to an idea, to a hope, a dream, to a pain, or worry, and I let it gnaw and gnaw and gnaw and gnaw at me until I find that I’m stuck in a loop, a time pocket–a future that has been sold off to the highest bidder and the bidder isn’t me–a future that has been written, and not written into the story that I want, or hope it to be.
It’s enough to make you stay up at night–wake you up in the middle of the night; tie knots in your shoulders, and wrench at your guts, until you find that your whisper has turned into a scream, that you can only let out in the car en route to the grocery store at 9:36 pm on a Tuesday night; or odd flowing tears while washing dishes; or a moment of dazed contemplation as you’re sitting on the toilet wiping your ass while your wife tries to talk to you through the bathroom door.
It’s that one extra glass of wine when you probably are done; that one last set of reps on the free weights when your arms are already shaking; that one last kiss when you really ought to have already said goodnight; that one more level when you should have just saved your progress shut down the game and gone to bed.
It’s coffee when you’ve not slept enough, when sleep is the much better choice. It’s hugging your child so tight that they say “Mommy, I can’t breathe.” It’s punching a wall hard enough to break the drywall. It’s dancing so hard you sweat your drunk ass sober. It’s laughing until you piss your pants; crying until you can’t catch your breath. It’s trying to sneak that one last fart out, only to discover that it’s something more.
It’s scatological. It’s fear. It’s sexual. It’s promises upon promises upon promises of tomorrow.
It’s a child wondering what tomorrow brings. It’s a grown man wondering if there’s a panacea for what ails you.
Things never truly, completely turn out how you think, expect or hope for them to turn out. Not life, surely not tomorrow, and to that end, even this blog entry.
The best you can do, for you, or me, or that kid, our kids, my kids is to take the next thirty years day by day, changing what you can–for the better–and *being* the person you hope that you’ll be later on.
It keeps me up sometimes, wondering; worrying. It blasts me like so much information that I freeze up, forget to live and just be.
“Who are you going to be?” I ask myself. “Are you OK with where you’re heading?”
“I’m just along for the ride,” I retort. “I’m enjoying it, best I can and holding on for dear life, screaming, giggling, pissing my pants. It’s a ride, you know?”
“But, aren’t you worried that…you’ll run out of track?”
“I worry,” I say to myself, shrugging. “Sure, I worry. But who doesn’t? I’m doing my best to just enjoy the ride.”
Without thinking about it, about the next turn, the next drop, the next, the next, the next: I throw my hands up, close my eyes, and wait for what happens next.