Are You In A Rut
Have you hit your thirties and wondered “is this it?” You think, I have a house, 2.5 kids, a dog, a cat named Snowflake and a spouse with a good job with a retirement that does pretty good every year. With any luck, I will maintain my lifestyle, send my kids to school, AND be able to retire before 75. Only 40 more years of “this”. If there was even the slightest groan inside from reading that, continue reading.
When I was a kid, in the afternoons, there were the talk shows. The forefathers of the late night era. But they were not flashy. They were the likes of Michael Douglas, Doris Day, and Merv Griffin. They would start the show not with a catchy monologue, for life was too reverent. But with a song. Not one of these people could sing, but boy did they belt it out as if they could. The applause was polite with laugh tracks and you could almost see the signs instructing the small studio audience how to respond. As if they could not be trusted with a reaction that was suitable. We have always been told in some way how to be, even when we were watching TV. You know what I remember the most about those shows? That when the professional singers would perform their best lip sync, their eyes would sparkle artificially. I have never understood this phenomenon. How did that happen? Were they so happy that they were granted an extra light inside that demonstrated their happiness through their eyes? Are they a chosen bunch?
I really have a great respect for some of the people who were gifted artists, but died sooner than they should have. Yet I wonder if this is a deal with the devil that they made. I have asked my entire family if they were given the choice to live the lives of the Belushi’s, or the rock stars, would they? Oddly, not one took it. Even knowing that I would pay an ultimate price with my health, I secretly believe I would at least given it some thought. Because overall, their lives just seem more interesting than the average Joe. Why else are we so intrigued with a death, a divorce, an affair? I would bet that we are in the know about these people we will never meet, more than some of our own family.
So would you? If you could, would you live the life of a shooting star knowing the price that will be paid? I will be honest and say that I would be the person that would take that to the extreme. If I was rich, young, and the world gave me a minute of their blessing, I would run with it, knowing the piper would be paid one day. I wouldn’t be able to resist it.
Mama Cass, Amy Whinehouse, Seymour Hoffman, John Belushi, James Dean. What do they have in common? They are all dead. They had families, they had talent, they had love at the asking. They chose the shooting star route. I think we have to hit the middle somewhere. Not the same thing for 50 years, unless you really chose this. At least give yourself the option of a dream to be worked toward. What are we going to remember about you when you go?
I will be alright with my eulogy. Because at some level, I did follow a dream and managed to not kill myself in the process. I will never be worth hundreds of millions, but I have reached my goal of writing professionally, even if it took a half century to get it going. In that process I had the gift of being a nurse for 25 years. That turned out to be a gift I didn’t recognize for a very long time. I wouldn’t trade it for the world now. I have Kate, my boys, and their dad. I am loved and I have loved. That has been the greatest resume I will have. No, I will not be a shooting star, but they sure are pretty to watch fly across the midnight sky, until they are but a shadow and a memory. But they were oh so beautiful.