“I don’t trust the answers or the people who give me the answers. I believe in dirt and bone and flowers and fresh pasta and salsa cruda and red wine. I don’t believe in white wine; I insist on color.” ― Charles Bowden
I wonder how many of us think about how long we've got left?
I do. Not daily but pretty damn frequently.
I'd say it's a little disturbing.
What was it I said the other day?
So much to do, so little time to do it.
And that ain't me trying to be poetic but it's my reflection on arriving at a point in my life where I feel, save (of course ❤️) for my family, I've little to show for 53 years of existential angst. Sure, I've bagged a bushel of labels — e.g. entrepreneur, lawyer, CEO (pretty BS if you ask me) and speaker — and tried on the outfits of a few of my then heroes, but no one, outside a very small group, is going to remember me or more especially my 'work' after I'm gone.
So f* what?
Should I be worried?
Not really. I mean, I won't be here to shout the odds.
Why then am I even mentioning it, let alone troubling you to read another one of my many, oh-woe-is-me posts?
Simple. Or at least simple to say: I want my 'work' to mean more than a series of erstwhile jobs that, give or take the odd nanosecond of bliss, robbed me of my life.
And right now, as best as I know (and I've had this feeling before...), my work is to write. For the record, I'm still at the legal coalface but I've no feel for it save that it's keeping a roof over our heads. Don't misunderstand me. I'm very grateful for my job and stability but outside my normal working hours, all I want to do is write.
And that's why the time thing — now, more than ever — is all that matters.
In one sense, the slow hands of the clock should enliven me, put the wind firmly in my sails but then again, that sounds too much like another victory story. It's more like I'm sh*t scared that the clock will strike 12 and I'll be out of here with nothing to show for the time I've been here, namely 19,503 days.
You may not know this but I used to work in the funeral business, and I still remember being asked to collect a deceased man, aged around 50, who died of a massive heart attack whilst cooking the Sunday dinner. The image of his sprawled out body, the look on his face and the sudden goneness has stayed with me and will remain with me for the rest of my life. And without wanting to completely ruin your day, my view is that we too easily take for granted the fact that when we go to bed we'll wake up the next day. Don't. Or at least say a little prayer before your head hits the pillow, reminding yourself that you are mortal and not to expect too much all the time.
Apropos writing, I know the stock answer: all there is to it is to bloody well sit and write. Oh dear god, if only it was like that. Sure, I've written a few chapters — 50,000 odd words to be precise — but I always pull the pin just as I'm rounding the corner, (usually) wracked with massive self-doubt about the quality of the prose and the thought: "Who the hell am I kidding?"
But I'll do it. Finish the damn book that is (the memoir) even if it kills me. God knows if it will ever see the light of a published day, but I'll do it, if for no other reason than it will enable me to cut the Gordian Knot between the person I am and the unlived, creative part of me.
What about you?
Do you have something at the back of your existential closet that haunts you?
Until the next time then.
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