Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Life

I've been thinking a lot lately about what life is all about. It's kind of corny, but for me it has really boiled down to what Val Kilmer said at the end of Tombstone, and I'm paraphrasing a little: "There is no point to life, Wyatt, there is only life. So go out and live it."

When we were kids, didn't we always think there was some goal to achieve, like our life was a story that just had to have a happy ending? It was always about the future. Some day I'll be rich and drive a Ferrari (I'm too tall for one of those by the way, ditto for the Lambourghini).

I hate to say it, but now my only goal is to pave the way for my children to follow the same dreams, and hopefully make them come true. It's not that I've given up on my own dreams, but I don't feel them as passionately as I did before. It could be the lithium...

(I'm joking about the lithium by the way.)

That might seem defeatist, but it makes me happy to release myself from those lofty expectations. My dad always had his head in the future, promising that someday we would own a ranch and raise horses and grow fields of corn. I suppose we came close when we bought a farm back in the eighties. We had no money, but that never stopped dad. Let's just say he found a way to subsidize our little experiment in life, and all told, I wouldn't take it back for the world. Dad was crooked, and I would never in a million years emulate his style, but he had brass ones, and there were some good times in between the depressions.

Now I have my own kids, and thinking about their future and what a responsible parent could do to make it the best it can be is what moves me anymore. Yesterday I was working and Emmett came in and poked me in the neck with Chopsticks. Later he gave me a Black Spiderman tatoo. Then he told me a story. And like so many times when the kids, so animated and beautiful, go into their tales, I don't hear what they are saying. I'm mesmerized by their faces. Emmett brought me back to my high school reunion when I attempted to talk with Dennis, the king of our graduating class. Dennis was on my football team, and I saw him in the bar where I was playing pool. The winner of the Handsome Harry contest for our school, Craig, interrupted our conversation to tell Dennis a joke. His hat was on backwards and he still looked as young to me as in '83. His face was alight, so eager to please Dennis. Just like my son before me.

I still bear the weight of that night, when I realized after ten post-high-school-years, I was still that awkward kid, invisible to the royal elite. But now I am Dennis to the three most important people in my world. The least I can do is shed the past and pave for the future.

I'm certainly trying.

And what makes me such a special dad. One simple thing: I never grew up. And everyone knows it. Three days ago, Jackson wrote the word "poop" in invisible ink and his spy-pad, the writing only visible under a black light. His pen has such a light where the eraser would normally be, and as I walked in I saw the word just before he clicked it off and put on his guilty/innocent face.

"Did I just see the word poop!"

"How did you know?!"

"I saw it."

"But how did you read it so fast?"

"It's what I call a sight-word. The kind that is instantly recognizable. It's not like I had to go," I wore a dopey face and pursed my lips, "puh... oooooooo... puh..." I pondered the phoenetic sounds then said with more confidence, "Puh oooo puh. Hey, wait a minute, that's poop!"

He was still laughing when I put him to bed.

12 comments:

Alan said...

As I am now. :-))

Beth said...

How cute about the pu ooo pu. LOL

You know, I'm a person who was constantly living in the future. The past, the future, there are no power in those things. You have to stay present to be powerful and to change things.

I used to find myself living through my kids and I've stopped that also. Their lives must be their own and I have to accept that only they can create their lives, their careers, etc.

Scott, dude, you need to check out that "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle. I'm telling you ... get past the first couple of chapters and I think it'll change your life.

Scott said...

Glad you liked it, Alan.

Beth - Yeah, you kind of had to be there, but it was really funny. I got on a comic roll!

As for A New Earth, I'm taking you up on it. At the library I'm at position 149 (thanks Oprah), so I went to Amazon and read the reviews and decided to buy it. If I could change just one thing about me, I would unload the past completely. Rejection just cuts me to the nub, and it has nothing to do with today; it's all about middle through high school, and even aspects of college. I'm trying to impress ghosts. In the back of my mind, I think I want to be a success just to show the doubters that I can be something. Look at the title of my blog even. It's such a part of me, and has nothing to do with reality.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I think that being able to realise the differences between your past and your present is the key to unlocking your future.

kathie said...

Hey great post! My dreams are still a big part of my life as I can't help but see the day my kids graduate and my husband and I actually have ten minutes--guilt-free--to ourselves. I agree, there's nothing like the light in these kids' faces, their ideas and hopes...nothing makes me smile like seeing them laugh. Though, my book on the shelves at B & N would be second for sure.

Toni Anderson said...

There is a lovely part in life when you begin to accept the things you have and not hanker after 'stuff'.

I think it is what 'finding yourself and inner peace is all about (gosh I am probably being way top general but you know what I mean). It is still good to have ambition, but being happy within yourself rather than thinking you need a cool car just because... well that is real growth as a person. And nothing wrong with having the car if you can afford it and just want it because you love cars. It's all about accepting who you really are (she said clearly rambling with not enough to do LOL). Get back to work woman!!!

Beth said...

Scott, I see that you got the book. Okay, we have to "meet up" and discuss. When you started talking about the ego on Amy's blog, I was like, "That's it. We're discussing!" =)

Moni said...

Yes, children do change our focus and priorites. They become an extension of our immortality, so I suppose it's not that important to make our mark.

Raising a good and decent person is our mark.

As usual Scott you have such a way of stating the obvious so that it's new, refreshing and entertaining. I can see where the boys get it.

kathie said...

Hi Scott...just checking back in...still dreaming...

Jada's Gigi said...

It takea a really long time to actually grow up, doens't it?

Hoodie said...

I think when all is said and done you'll realize you fulfilled many more of your dreams than you realized.

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