The Last Twenty… March 25, 2012

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I spent the first twenty years of my life more or less kicking my own tires and revving my engine to see what I had under the hood. I didn’t do anything to excess–except eating. I studied enough algebra to discover I would never use  it and I am always astounded that I actually received good marks in chemistry, despite a lack of any awareness of even attending class. I attempted to learn the Golden Rule but was never encouraged to believe it was plausible. I went from baby to child to young man to fully grown male of the species without breaking a bone, but spraining everything else available. I guess I was just normal.

That was my first twenty.

My second twenty was spent trying to learn how to eek out a living so people wouldn’t criticize me for being lazy and banks wouldn’t charge me overdraft fees. I also discovered sex, which opened the door to procreation, which forced me into a room–at gunpoint–of fatherhood. It isn’t that I didn’t enjoy the experience. It’s just that I’ve never been so ill-prepared for anything since the day our teacher told us that we would ONLY be speaking Spanish in class for the entire period. Yes, in that second twenty years I tried to learn how to be a man, an artist, a husband, a provider and a father. Five things. (Something’s gotta give, right?) I did my best.

In the next twenty years, as my children launched out on their own, I decided to pursue my career. Normally one does that younger, but I saw no reason to be in step with society. In that twenty years period, I wrote three novels, eleven symphonies, seventeen screenplays, many songs, and traveled the country back and forth a couple dozen times. I also joined my dear business partner in starting a symphony, which ended up being both a creative and a philanthropic endeavor in our community. Exciting stuff.

But I woke up on Tuesday of this week and realized that I am probably in my last twenty. At first I tried to slide into some silly, melancholy sentiments–but then I realized how long twenty can be. Now I’m not saying that I have twenty more years left. God knows there are always little surprises for all of us. It may be only twenty minutes. Twenty days. Twenty weeks. Twenty months. Or I might win the jackpot and get the full twenty years. But whatever happens, I’d like to keep my mind on that idea of twenty.

Because I’ll tell you right now–if I only had twenty minutes to live, what I would do, knowing what I know about my heavenly Father, who will hopefully be my next innkeeper, I would be kind and smile at everyone.

If information was given to me that I had twenty days to linger on this planet, I would limit my projects, and instead of trying to look like “Mr. Busy Man,” I would finish them all instead of leaving a bunch of half-eaten doughnuts lying around.

How about if God whispered in my ear that I had twenty weeks to live? Well, I’ll tell you right now–I would make a weekly contact with everyone I know and love–with a special message from my heart.

If twenty months were graciously afforded me, I would be creative, making sure that in some way, shape or form, I left my own footprints in the sand.

And if by some stroke of mercy and grace, this old body of mine can muster up twenty more years, I would do everything aforementioned in great good cheer, without ever going to bed worrying.

I guess any way you look at it, at any age we are all in our last twenty of something. After all, what could be more sad than the last twenty potato chips in the bag?

We will never be judged on our longevity, nor honestly, on whether we were in perfect physical condition. But someone will bring up how we decided to use our time. Actually, they won’t even need to bring it up, now, will they? The evidence will remain–to either convict us … or make us free.

**************

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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