Another year closer to death
And I feel fine
I turned 38 yesterday. Even if I’m being generous with my health, I probably hopped over the halfway point of my lifespan a few years ago. It’s not that I think I’m dancing precipitously on the edge of death or anything - it’s just that I feel pretty confident in my assumption that I have more years behind me than ahead of me at this point in my life.
And I’m OK with that.
When I was a kid, I would always put off projects and homework assignments until the last minute. In college, I was the king of cramming. Even as an adult, I work best with a looming deadline hanging over my shoulder like the Grim Reaper. And what is death but life’s deadline? I spent a big chunk of the first half of my life thinking I was invincible. I remember the exact moment I first reckoned with mortality. I was seven years old and watching Louis Teague’s ALLIGATOR. In the film, a small child jumps off a diving board installed over his backyard swimming pool and is promptly eaten by a giant reptile that had been chilling in the pool’s deep end. Watching this as a kid, I could feel my perception of finality pop into focus. If children in movies could die, that meant I could also die. Don’t get me wrong - I spent several more years being reckless and short-sighted when it came to my safety, but - in the back of my head - I finally knew I would someday die.
Smash cut to my thirties when I wake up with aching bones and I’ve lived through the middle of an active pandemic, the presidency of a power-hungry dictator, and learned that I can, in fact, eat an entire Little Ceasar’s Hot ‘N’ Ready by myself if I try. I no longer harbor any illusions about immorality. I can feel the punctuation mark in my life’s sentence approaching and I know it’s time to buckle down and really get to work.
I have too many things I want to do, places I want to see, people I want to meet, and references to 1980s killer animal movies I want to make. I know that the time for bullshit is over - this is the time for being ambitious.
My dad once told me that opportunities in life aren’t given to most folks. If you want something, you need to make it happen on your own. I want a lot out of life. I want to travel the world and share stories with people who want to hear them and enjoy moments both big and small with the people I love. I want to live a life that is full and happy and where any regrets are overshadowed by the knowledge that I gave it my all.
This need to buckle down and get shit done means sacrifices must be made. I have found it really difficult to sit down and do things I used to take pleasure in like listening to a Director’s Commentary on a Blu-ray player or alphabetizing my book collection. Who has time for that shit when the tick-tick-tick of the clock can be heard in the back of your mind?
Maybe I’ll circle right back around to the beginning in the last years of my life and I’ll realize that it’s OK to waste a couple of hundred hours building a spreadsheet in which I chronologically list all the movies I’ve seen by the year they take place. I actually hope that’s the case. I hope I cram so much shit into the next 30 years that - when I’m old and grey and patiently waiting for my turn to San Junipero my brain into a server somewhere, I can just bullshit the hours away like I did when I was a kid.
But for now? It’s time to cram.