I hate the fact that I am constantly writing some memoir-ish personal diatribe bullshit, but between school, work and a desperate need to distract myself from the world on the rare occasion that I can, I have only been able to write when inspired. But what the hell, right?
Today I spent the day seeing a friend off. He is heading back home to Boston in the morning. And as much as I may worry about him, I honestly believe that it is the right move, as he has only been able to tread water in this quickly growing city. I have known, or at least known of, this man for a number of years prior to our meeting. We traveled similar circles in the underground Boston music scene, and I actually think we met on a couple of occasions, but I think he was too messed up to remember. I don’t fault him for that. God knows I still meet people who know me, but I can never recall ever meeting them–drunk or sober.
But when he walked into my world a few years back, it was no mistaking that this was the infamous individual for whom I mostly only ever heard of by name, or saw his band play on a handful of occasions. Little did I know that he was to have hard and lasting effect on my life. Some may call it God; some may call it synchronicity. But watching my friend grow in to the man he is today from the man he was when I first heard of him, has shown me the direction I have lacked since I first took the bottle from my lips.
Last week I turned 38. I have never had a place of my own. I have never made more than $10K a year (this year will prove to be the first break from that, but not by much). I have never owned a suit. I have never lived in a way that prepared for the future, nor did I ever think it was possible. I say this, not out of self-pity, but as a harsh realization to have as I quickly approach 40.
I have spent the last 7 years working towards a Bachelors degree. Originally I thought I was going to get into academia and try to save the world from itself, one college student at a time. But during my time at university, I have a had a tectonic shift in personal philosophy and have no interest in joining the ranks of barely employed adjunct instructors, professing some ideological utopia while praying that they are going to brought on again next semester in their respective “liberal” arts colleges, who care so much for the working poor. Unfortunately I am now 9 weeks away form an English degree and no idea how to make that degree have any value in a dead and decayed job market. But I started hustling, working on making things happen–just like my friend getting on a plane in 6 hours.
These last 2 years or so, I have watched my friend fall flat on his face, time and time again; yet it never killed his hustle. Just like the mosh-pits we come from, you get knocked down. Shit you may lose a few teeth. But you always get back up and get back in the fight. He was constantly trying make things work. Often to no avail, but the dude has tenacity.
I also got to watch him hold on to less skillful traits as well. Tenacity and fortitude can often turn into stubbornness. So often he was unable to change his perspective or mind, no matter how much these old ideas would be the very thing he was trying to conquer. So it was my job to just be a friend and accept him no matter what.
But something was different. I soon found out that my frustration was not with him,but with myself. He was but a mirror I was forced to look into. We may come from different backgrounds; we may have gone different directions in life. But we are the same person. His strengths are my strengths. His faults are my faults. Come to find out, I have been standing in my own way all this time.
In but a few hours he flies for Boston to become the man he was always meant to become. No matter how late, or early, in life we finally get to where we’re going, that is when we get there. But we can’t let years of old ideas keep us from the new ideas that are going to finally shape us into the men we want to be. He sets off to try to be a father, to be a son, to be a friend and a compatriot. My mirror may be leaving, but the lessons he taught are not. He often praises me for helping him see the way. Maybe now it is time I return the favor, and actually make something out of this life of nothing.
I will never be able to repay you for what you have given me brother. I love you till my dying day. See you soon.