There are days these days when I try, and fail to remember what life was like BEFORE. Before COVID. Before separation/divorce. Before Single Dadhood. Before mortgages and bills. William MacNuff, the protagonist in my ENDWORLD series said once upon a time that “I have been here before.” Well? So have I. I maintain enough recollection of my own, personal history that I remember the late 1990s. My “Dark and Twisty” period as I sometimes refer to it. But remembering those days? It’s honestly easier than remembering 2017. Or even February 2020. Is this normal? Survey says: I have no idea. But it’s the truth. And I pride myself on speaking it. I always have, and I always will.
We’ve all been through Hell folks. Our subjective universe on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence has gone through quite a transition since 365 days ago. And we’ve got a ways to go. We’re far from “in the clear” yet, and while there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, it doesn’t seem to be getting closer. I know. Maybe I’m giving into skepticism. Me, the eternal optimist taking a hard left turn into the throes of our President Elect’s “Dark Winter?” Who’d have thunk it? But here I am. Here WE are, and as hard as I try to figure out a way back… A way to break the doldrum that I’ve been ensconced in for far too long, I simply can’t. So helplessly? I find myself thinking about the past. A life… MY life lived. I look at the angelic, sleeping faces of my daughters as I kiss them goodnight. I retire to my room and I sit. I mull an idea or two. A sales strategy for work tomorrow. Eventually? I will go to sleep. In sleep? Dreams. Vivid, but likely unremembered. Before I know it my alarm will bark at me and it will be morning. Second verse, same as the first. But before that?
I know the way out. No, not THAT one. Geez, guys and gals, I may be a bit depressed but I’m not there. And if YOU are? Please: Come back. Let’s live… Together, and keep on living until such time as our bodies naturally tell us it’s time to move on. A life less extraordinary, nay boring is preferable to the alternative. But where is… WHAT is my purpose? Me, your 45 year old Madchronicler/El Autoro, who once envisioned himself the guy that would pen the next, great American Novel. Now? Now I see myself for what I am. Normal. And if that’s it then that’s okay. Whether I write another word after this or not (I probably will but who knows?) I still have things to pass on. Wisdom? Perhaps. But I need to stop trying so damn hard and just let sh*t take it’s natural course. And right now? That course has me wanting to write about my minions. TO them. A few helpful hints for a more productive life. Yes, that’s a thing. It was in the late 1990s and it is now. I guess it always HAS been. So on that note?
1. Never sell yourself short or underestimate what you can accomplish. In less than 48 hours you will see, for the first time in the history of this great country, a female Vice President. The glass ceiling has been shattered. Not just by Kamala Harris but by all those who came before her. RBG and Hillary Clinton. Sonia Sotomayor and Geraldine Ferraro. Your path to greatness is clearer than it ever has been before. Take it. Work hard. Compromise if needed but hold true to your resolve. Follow it with determination and become the best you that you can be. No goal is too far-fetched. Be spectacular. And know that I will always be here, supporting you and cheering you on.
2. Be you. Don’t be what others expect or want you to be. Rainbows and unicorns? Own that sh*t. Dance in the rain. Sing as loud as you can and if someone tells you that you shouldn’t? Sing louder. Let the beauty of this universe fill you up and if you think you can’t take anymore? Trust me. You can. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by the ugliness because it will endeavor to do so. For every stark and disturbing scene of a mob, storming a Capitol or every word, spoken out of hate in a public forum there is a beach, golden at sunset or a mountaintop, above which tens of thousands of stars vault from horizon to horizon. Embrace the awe of someone speaking from their heart over the dissapointment of someone spreading hate. You will be better because of it. I promise.
3. Love hard, but do not allow it to distract you from you. If someone asks you to compromise your plan for theirs, don’t. Always put yourself first. Until the day arrives when you have children of your own. And then? Place their welfare before yours. Make sure they eat before you and if times are tough? Always keep a roof over their heads, food in their bellies, lights overhead and the water running, even if you have to work two jobs. Make sure they always have a book by their bedside. Novel? Comic? Whatever. If they can’t sleep don’t let them turn on their TV. Task them to read until their eyes get heavy and promise them that eventually, they will sleep. And when they have a nightmare… When they arrive by your bedside in tears hug them regardless of their age, and invite them to sleep beside you because you are their solitude. Oh! And if they ask you to brush their hair, don’t ask questions. Do it, because there will come a day when they won’t… There will come a day when they won’t need you quite as much. Enjoy it… Embrace it while you can.
4. Know the difference between dreams and reality and strive to strike a balance between the two. Never stop fantasizing about where you want to go and who you want to be, but understand that not everyone is lucky enough to get there. Approach your dreams with a healthy, but not crippling sense of skepticism and have a Plan B. Get good at something else. While money isn’t everything it is, sadly something that we all need to survive and support. Learn how to balance a checkbook, even if your “checkbook” is a blank sheet of paper on your desk. Your Mom-Mom Minnie used to say “eat to live, but don’t live to eat.” Splurge only when you’ve paid your bills and have a bit left over, even if “splurging” is little more than a cheese steak, cheese fries and a Hawaiian Punch. Trust me: You’ll still appreciate the Hell out of it and savor every bite or sip.
5. Never give up hope. There will be times of depression… Doldrum. Moments when you think you are stuck, and your inclination will be to just STOP. Climb under a blanket, put on a news program, or a TV show/movie and just sit quietly, unmovable. Your phone will ring, or beep with notifications and you’ll absently look at it and say “no. I’m not going to answer that.” These moments? They are okay. Normal. Not everyone can be an eternal optimist all the time. The weight of the world will bear down upon your shoulders and many times, the solution will be beyond your control. But trust in your strength and resolve… Let these moments run their course. Eventually? You will get back up. You’ll formulate a plan and follow it because it’s in your genes to do so. Marshes never surrender. We get hit, but we get back up. We’re stubborn like that. And if you ever need help, a shoulder to cry on or someone to vent to, don’t hesitate. Call. You don’t have to do it all yourself. You are and always will be loved and supported because if nothing else, YOU are my purpose. YOU are my Magnum Opus.
There are days these days when I try, and fail to remember what life was like BEFORE. Before COVID. Before separation/divorce. Before Single Dadhood. Before mortgages and bills. And while remembering my “Dark and Twisty” period may be easier these days than remembering 2017, or even February 2020, I know that one day soon, this doldrum… this “Dark Winter” that I… Sh*t, that we are living in will pass. We may never be the same as we were before. But do we want that? Really. Who we were before COVID has been laid stark and in clear relief because of it and so many other factors (that’s a whole other blog post). Divided. Devisive. Is this what we want for our children? Survey says: No. It is not. They need to be the beneficiaries of the lessons we have learned on both a micro and macro scale. Our shared purpose is to make the universe on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence better for them. Not ENDWORLD, but a world without end. Limitless. Spectacular.
Goodnight all. Sleep calls. And in sleep? Dreams. Maybe this time I’ll remember them come the morning.