Ever feel like this kid and you share travel speeds through life? Maybe the sausage or pickle, or whatever really is a motivator for the tortoise, maybe it doesn’t matter. I have a birthday coming up soon. They seldom freak me out, I don’t pay attention to the number, deferring to what I perceive my mental maturity to be as my real age.
Still, the last few weeks, I have had the real pleasure of reuniting with friends I haven’t seen in a decade. All that times passes, where contact is non-existent, lives take their own paths and detours, until our roads cross again. Life is funny that way, but I have to say, that decade is such a finite time period. No awkward moments, no “where were you all this time.” It is just this unspoken understanding that whatever we were doing was just an exercise in trying to find some sort of true happiness, some sort of real escape.
As my friends were addicts, all of us have crossed the threshold, and are on the right side of the sanity line. I do have to say I have a tinge of envy. Here I am picking up the pieces of what I thought was an undying love, with one friend married, with a two-year old son, the other engaged. I am content right now, and a relationship is the last thing I want right now. Publishing a memoir blew up any cover story I might hatch, as the further I get away from drugs, the less that long chapter seems relevant.
Waging the battle in my head isn’t always easy. I still wonder if I made the right call, laying out my sins, curious if where I am outweighs where i have been. And everyone with an Amazon account can know exactly where it is I have been. It’s human nature to want to be accepted, but in my nature, honesty has been a challenge. Sometimes I pick up my proof copy of the book and read something, and I laugh that I actually conveyed a particular story. I got a letter from an ex- telling me that she was shocked I had cheated on her.
It seems cheap to offer an apology, to say I did a lot of things out of my character, and that ‘s the rub. Addicts make terrible decisions. Dangle a stamp bag in front of my running, dope sick nose, and yeah, I’ll rob someone, some store, or let some strange girl spend the night. Having lived with that guy, and knowing myself today, I can connect the dots. People close to the fire though, their wounds sometimes never heal, and I know a lot of people hold things against me. Should I give it thought if I have made my peace? Do I give it thought?
Well, obviously, or I wouldn’t be furiously typing a blog about it. The other thing about reconnecting with friends, are the gaps get filled in. I remember a bunch of forgotten faces, laugh at my roles in various tales from places of work, slightly amazed I am going to ‘celebrate’ another year of life. I would think other addicts have had the “you’ll be dead by…” line thrown at them. I wonder if their reaction was similar to mine, which was a zeal to prove them wrong. The easy, no, bad word, the smart method would have been to just get clean. For me, it was an idea that I could continue down the path of heroin or pills, and come out smelling like a rose, albeit one dipped in a pig sty. Sniff hard enough, and I bet a faint floral scent would tickle a nose.
The past, yes, I remember it, have shared it, and have put it in its place. The future, that is more my stumbling block these days. Living in the present seems a challenge. We put in the work everyday, laying a foundation and yet I still have to remind myself Rome wasn’t built-in a day. I think I have low-T. Damn you pharmaceutical advertisements. Funny story, anytime we discussed some obscure disease in college, a few would think to themselves, I have those symptoms. Some would really freak out, and I’d ask, oh, so you’ve been to the Congo?
What we focus on often times obscures the facts. We create a portrait and lock ourselves in that moment, lives in neutral. I am no different. When my ex- left, I was paralyzed. My only sense of normalcy was my dog and taking care of him. His schedule is atomic clock like, and even that felt just like part of a daily grind. 7:00AM, feed him, take him out. 11:00AM walk him. 6:00PM, feed him, take him out. Mechanical. I’d sit in what was once “our” bedroom, and fight back emotion, and just turn on the TV and become mindless. Depending on the day, I can still slip away into my head. I just tell wordpress about it when I realize, after the 6th episode of Law & Order:SVU, that I need to get off my ass and do something worthwhile.
Motivational drifter. That I am. I just make an attempt each day to deal with my issues, to step back and let the future unfold, rather than wish for a time machine to put me a year into the future. After all, some years of my life are serious blurs. Ten years since I have seen these people? Feels like yesterday sometimes, feels like 100 others. I don’t look my age, passing for much younger, and I don’t feel my age either. If you took a walk in my shoes, you’d have blisters if you didn’t buy new ones every so often.
What’s it all mean? How should I know? In the end, I can always take solace that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, whether I get it or not. Even if it is in front of the bathroom mirror, plucking out that pesky gray whisker that seems to want to grow faster than all the rest. That focus word again. Have a good rest of the weekend. I know I will.
“I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.” ~Albert Einstein