Imma change my life

 

Snow Skiing Winter Freerider Sports Alpine Ski
If you see me looking like this, I was pushed. Call the paramedics.

Next life, I’ll ski more.

This is partly a confession. You see, I’ve actually had that thought. That precise thought. Recently, in fact.

Next life, I’ll ski more.

That is a direct quote from a part of my brain that is, apparently, not entirely sure about reality or the direction time moves. It surprised me, too. In my defense, I might have been sleepy. (In fact, I wasn’t. But if I hadn’t told you, how would you know?)

 

sleeping-puppy-138304713144O
Next life, I’m gonna backpack through Europe after high school… Unless I wake up and find out I’m a little bitty dog.

Next life, I’ll ski more.

Reality intrudes and reminds me that it is now too late to plan my youth. I won’t see my 20s again. None times. Zero more times.

Yeah, we could still ski, but those days are mostly behind us. Life is filled with stuff we coulda done, but didn’t do. (“Coulda did” if you want to go full redneck.)

Coulda shoulda woulda.

Mad_scientist.svg
Invoking mad scientist clause: barring a youth serum or similar breakthrough (by a brilliant but unhinged scientist, naturally) I’ll never be 20 again. Let’s assume this to be the case, for the sake of argument. Or for any sake you like.

I know why my brain went there. It fits a natural pattern. After all, days repeat: “Tomorrow I’ll finish that job.” (Judges? Possible.) Weeks repeat: “Next weekend, we’ll do something fun.” Also possible. Months and years repeat–we get another bite at those apples: “Next summer, let’s travel.” Totally possible.

But lives, as far as we know, just come in packages of 1.  Single serving.

silo-brown-egg
Contents: 1 egg.

No do-overs. No correcting mistakes. No studying harder for college once you’re out. No training harder for the sports you played as a kid. No eliminating some of the stupid shit you said, out loud, in front of other humans.

Your youth was wasted on the young, and you just now noticed. (You know who you are.)

And no do-over on your career.

In our youth, we let our brains trick us into thinking our careers will be crazy awesome. Frankly, we expect too much. We think our possibilities, our aptitudes, are the same as our future.

astro baseball
I’m gonna be an astronaut. And a baseball player.

Thinking we might could be a pilot or a cowboy or an archaeologist or an inventor or a milkman, we feel, in a way, that we are all of those things. It’s Schrödinger’s career: until we get there, all possible futures are true.

schrodinger_s_cat_by_ivushka90-d8jd4m7
Don’t open the box.

Then, when they don’t all come true, or none of them do, it’s disappointing. Maybe even depressing, depending on how you’re put together. It’s an existential let-down, and the quintessential crisis of midlife. We didn’t arrive where we thought we would, and realize we ain’t a’gonna.

We become aware of the narrowing of our possibilities as time screams by.

Duh. It’s the zipper principle.

zipper
What again?

Like the teeth of an unzipped zipper, stretching wide in either direction, our future encompasses all our possible futures, everything we might be, from horizon to horizon. But every day, every year, we complete another portion of our lives, and zip up our potentialities into actualities, a tiny bit more every moment. Inexorably. Inevitably. Permanently.

The closed-up past stretches out behind us while the gap ahead of us narrows. Our history is written, and our choices are reduced and half-chosen for us as we close in on what future remains to us.

Sometimes we all wonder (just go along with me) about the road not taken… the career not pursued… the risk not accepted. Who knows how different our lives would have turned out if we had done some of those things? How many different lives might we have lived?

bridge
(Water under the bridge.)

No point thinking about it. Done and dusted.

Whew. Deep breath.

deep breath
Gimme a sec. Hold on.

Okay. Here we go.

So, looking ahead, I’m gonna do some stuff. I’m gonna live as much as I can. Maybe not in space, or on a baseball diamond, or even on a ski hill, but I’m gonna do some good stuff. Nahko’s got the right idea:

I need a change, it’s evident
A transformation imminent…

If I make it out alive, I will make a change

I’m not dead yet. I’ve got some life left in me. So I will make a change. And no mad scientist necessary.

Who’s with me?

JEB Mud Run
Everybody up. Keep it going. Let’s see what’s on the other side.

 

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