Someday

“Someday” is as presumptive as having potential, like the possible future ability to accomplish something, to be someone, or to get somewhere somehow means we don’t have to go through the middle ground (the proving ground) to get there. There’s just something about “Someday” that makes me feel somewhat incomplete, because it’s not a fixed concept, just a dart thrown in the air waiting to land.

And yet I’ve done just that, used “someday” as a place holder for many things in my life. When did I plan on getting published? Someday. When was I going to go back to college and get my degree? Someday. Luckily for me, those Somedays transformed themselves into actual dates as I was able to check things off my list, but way too often we are stuck with the notion that eventually a day will come like magic when everything will get done.

Maybe if we treat “Someday” like we do “Today,” things will get accomplished. Because if we challenge ourselves to do things today it will drive us insane when we don’t get them done. The longer we put them off the more they will eat at us until we come through, until we are finally able to assuage ourselves of the inevitable guilt that comes along for the ride. If “Someday” was “Today,” perhaps we would stop getting stuck in neutral.

Perhaps.

Sam

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Be Careful

“Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.”

be_careful_largeAs human beings, do we really know what we should be wishing for? I know for me it’s been a roller coaster ride, this thing called life. And sometimes when I wish for something hard enough it comes true. Then I realize it wasn’t the “thing” that I wanted, but the feeling of euphoria that should have accompanied the “thing.” When that euphoria doesn’t happen I feel empty.

So I’m saying, “Be careful.” I’m reminding myself of that, and of all the times when things looked perfect but they really weren’t. Because if I don’t learn from my mistakes I will keep making them again and again. Because if I don’t warn my heart and soul about those wishes I will keep hoping they all come true. Experience can be a great teacher, but the soul wants what the soul wants.

I’ve made a lot of changes in my life over the past 5 years. I’m no longer the pessimistic soul I used to be. I no longer make excuses for the things I do that hurt others. I own them now. I’m always careful to apologize when offenses occur, and I hope that in being careful I can somehow change fate. I wish for more than just physical objects now. I wish for no ill will. I wish for a better appreciation of what life gives me, even if it’s not what I think I want or need.

I only wish now that the people I appreciate always know it. I wish now for the patience to not get annoyed when things don’t go my way. I wish now for good sense and solid judgment, for a better understanding of myself so I’m never blindsided by the things I do. I wish now for a quiet meditation in my soul that will see me through the inevitable rough patches still out there on the horizon.

And I’m careful. I’m careful not to wish for the impossible, because sometimes the impossible is that way for a reason, because I’m not supposed to have whatever it is. I’m careful to stay in my lane, because veering can be dangerous. I’m careful because I’ve learned to be, and that’s alright with me. But that doesn’t limit my dreams. It just puts them more in focus.

Sam

These Ghosts Remain

“If I walk down this hallway tonight, it’s too quiet. So I pad through the dark, and call you on the phone. Push your old numbers, and let your house ring ’til I wake your ghost.” ~Kristin Hersh

ghost1I often feel like a ghost, living my invisible life, performing my invisible tasks, under the watchful eye of no one. I often feel like I haunt the places I used to go, the people I used to know, and the person I used to be. Because, you see, I’m no where near as solid as I pretend to be, my substance ephemeral and shimmery like the vampires in Twilight when I’m exposed to the light of day.

These lifetimes can swallow us whole if we let them, spitting out our bones when they’re through with us, when we are no longer palatable. I’ve lost at least three of those lifetimes. They are back there in the distance, but they haunt me even now. They sneak up on me when I least expect them, reminding me that I’ve died more than once, that I’m profoundly different now, a specter of who I used to be.

And I can’t help but think that my ghost finding yours out in the ether was no accident. I can’t help but wonder if our translucent souls found each other out of either desperation or sheer force of will. Whatever the reason, I have to thank whoever guides the souls once they’ve passed over from their own lifetime, once they’re left to fend for themselves when we move along.

I met you in this lifetime, in an airport, in the middle of a crowd of others who have been reincarnated after their own deaths, who have all at one time or another been someone else, somewhere else. If not for those lifetimes, if not for that time before this, they would not have been in that airport at that moment, to witness our second meeting. If not for those lifetimes you may not have even been there, smiling tentatively when you looked into my eyes for what we thought was the first time.

But we know better now. We know that ghosts pass in the night, in the daylight, in the harsh twilight that separates flesh from soul and knits it back together again. We know that heaven is just another lifetime where we can make up for our past mistakes, or where we can let them linger, forcing us into submission once more before moving on again. And hell is an excuse to pretend this lifetime is all we have.

Yet your ghost reminds me that everything is not the same, that while we have moved on we still live with the exhalations of our former selves. They still breathe through our lungs when we let them, continuing to exist in our dreams and nightmares, dominating our subconscious, pressing it into submission. These ghosts remain in between the silences, reminding us of what used to be, of what might have been, and of what we moved through on our way here.

These ghosts remain in the shadows, in the corners of our lives, but this is not their lifetime. This is ours.

Sam

Luxury Tax

Screen-shot-2011-10-18-at-11.22.16-AMI always hated the Luxury Tax space on the Monopoly game board, conveniently located between the highest priced properties in the game — Park Place, and Boardwalk.It always hit me at a time when I could least afford it, at the exact time I needed to be somewhere else, anywhere else.

It killed me because when I would land there on my early times around the board I would be aiming for Boardwalk, so I could buy it and begin my massive plan to take over the world. Or I would even hope for Park Place, so I could have one in hand and hopefully snake eyes would get me the other straightaway.

But then I would count in my head, and I would count on the board, and I would land directly between them. Instead of laying out money for quality real estate that would pay me back in the long run I was forced to fork over $75 dollars and wait another round. It would also effectively slash into my “Pass Go” pay, as I would realistically only make out $125 dollars richer for the trip than the customary $200.

When I would land on that spot later in the game it was with mixed emotions. I liked it if I was trying to avoid hitting someone else’s hotels on Boardwalk or Park Place, but I didn’t love it because it still cut into my pocketbook when I was hoping to skip the whole side of the board. And if I owned either Boardwalk or Park Place I always wanted to land on them instead.

That $75 bucks became a symbol for everything I wanted to avoid in the game. If I was able to navigate that side of the board without hitting it I knew I was on my way to winning the whole thing. But if I was locked into a game where I landed on it multiple times I knew things weren’t going well.

So what did the game makers do? They increased it to an even $100 in 2008. Screw them. I’m still playing with old school rules. And it still hurts.

Sam

Crossroads

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“You look lost.”
“I do?”
“Where you headed?”
“Well, I was just about to figure that out.”

I remember in that movie Cast Away, at the end when Tom Hanks’ character should be happy because he has escaped the island, but he’s not because the woman of his dreams has made her choice, and he isn’t it. He accepts the loss with grace, but you can tell that inside his heart is breaking. And he’s at this crossroads in his life that is symbolized by him standing in the middle of an actual crossroads, having to make a monumental decision that will affect the rest of his life, or at least the rest of his day. Where should he go?

And when I saw that movie I couldn’t help but feel that he gave up too soon, that even though the woman of his dreams had moved on with another guy, he should have fought for her. I saw them standing outside of her house in the rain and my heart was breaking too, because I’ve seen that scenario before. I’ve lived that scenario before, when life was at a crossroads, and it was her decision, and she made it, and my heart broke.

I felt that my life was over, but in reality it had only just begun. She made her choice at her own crossroads, which created a choice for me. There was no chance to go backwards, but everything else was wide open. I recall thinking about how ironic it was then, that the choice I wanted to make was the only one closed off to me, that there wasn’t really possibility in the other ways to go. I was stupid because I was blinded by a love that refused to let me go.

So I went forward. I didn’t turn left because I knew that way led to regret, to torturing myself with the memory of what might have been. I didn’t go right because I knew I wasn’t the kind of guy who could drown his sorrows in a series of meaningless relationships, at least not if I wanted to heal, which I did.

So I went forward into the unknown, trying to cling to a hope that things would get better, that I would find myself again, whatever that meant. And I have, the choices I made somehow bringing me out to the end of a road I never knew even existed before. That’s the glory of life, and of the choices we make when we’re forced to make difficult choices.

And I’m no longer yelling at Tom Hanks’ character to go back and fight for his woman, because she’s not his anymore, and he’s not hers, and going back doesn’t help anyone move ahead to where they’re supposed to be.

Sam

The Anti-Neighbor

6832ba573cc214a65763d790b96a26cfI’ve never been a “neighbor” kind of person. You know the type. They’re the ones who organize the block parties, the neighborhood watch groups, the car pool assignments, and the street cleaning team. I’ve always been the guy who waves “hi” when coming and going, who cleans up his own yard, and who has conversations when cornered at the post office. In short, I’m the “anti-neighbor” kind of person.

So I guess it’s fitting that we live in the middle of nowhere, that we don’t have any real neighbors to speak of at the moment. That way I don’t have to worry about those block parties (because there isn’t a block), those car pool assignments (because no one lives close enough to make that worthwhile), or those neighborhood watch groups (the coyotes watch my home closely enough, thank you very much). I don’t have to feign interest in conversations that don’t interest me in the least.

Except of course when I still get cornered at the post office. Or when people come over. But that’s different. Usually the people who come over are folks I have already vetted, that I’ve already given the thumbs up to and for, and who make my life a little bit cheerier by their presence. I can come right home, not have to linger in the driveway to shoot the shit with people whose names I struggle to remember, get right into my jammies, and hope to hell no one shows up unannounced so I’d have to put on actual clothes again.

Which is funny because I’m generally believed to be a people person, and at times I am. It just depends on the people. I liken neighbors to those people you have to be around, not the ones you choose for yourself. Now, sometimes I come across someone who just happens to live near me who I view as friend material, and then I hang on like grim death. Don’t. Let. Them. Get. Away. Of course that person usually does get away, and I’m left grinning and saying “hi” to the ones who stay.

Luckily for me my wife is just the sort of “neighbor” type that others gravitate towards because she deflects the scrutiny from me and my anti-neighbor ways. She stands out in the driveway and talks to the neighbors for a solid ten minutes upon arriving home, smiles and waves at them from her car when she passes them in the village, and generally cares about them and their lives. My wife is a saint. I am not. I am all for just spending my time at home with and around my family.

And I know some of you judge me for it, but I feel that I’m too old for it to really bother me anymore. I’ve done my time. I’ve put on my false front and done the driveway thing. I’ve helped clean up the block. I’ve helped organize the block parties. I’m done. So even though I am a city person, I’m glad I live out in the middle of the country. No pretense necessary. And god have mercy on your soul if you show up here unannounced.

Sam

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