“For what it’s worth… it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.” F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night
Sometimes I look at the words I have written and smile because I hit the high note and grabbed that brass ring when the carousel went by.
It doesn’t always happen or maybe it does with greater frequency than I recognize, realize or allow myself to acknowledge.
Maybe this hypercritical view of my work and self criticism is something I ought to explore as having passed along to the children or maybe it is not entirely me, maybe it is genetic and comes down from ancestors long gone but genetically remembered.
The question about whether I could start over was posed by a man who thought he was asking a gotcha type question not knowing experience has forced me to know I can start over because I have done it.
When I smile and affirm I can he asks if I could go deeper and imagine being married multiple times.
“Sure, I can imagine that. It is not difficult.”
He doesn’t want me to see he is flummoxed and tries to mask his irritation by pulling a Trump.
“You wouldn’t walk into your house and say you can imagine being divorced.”
“Who says I haven’t?”
The quick response and Cheshire Cat grin throw him and his mask fades away.
“No, I have had my own apartment and lived several states away more than once. That is all you need to know.”
It is not worth explaining the reasons why or giving him details he doesn’t deserve and hasn’t earned so I don’t.
I ought to tell you about the time the telemarketer called and told me he needed to talk to me about my family.
“Mr. Wilner if tell you that you and your family won a free vacation would that excite you?”
“Of course, I’d have to share it with the family.”
“Well why don’t you tell them that you just won a fantastic 3 day two night trip!”
I yelled in jubilation but didn’t tell the telemarketer I was the only one there.
“What did they say? Are they excited?”
“That is an easy answer, they were dancin’ and singin’ and movin’ to the groovin’ and just when it hit me they shouted.”
“I am so glad to make them happy. Now Mr. Wilner all you need to do is give me a credit card number so that we can hold your space.”
“Gee Mr. Telemarketer, I once told a girl I agreed we might actually be the love of each other’s lives but I didn’t ask her to give me a credit card number to prove it.”
Confession, I might have asked her to help with something but this place is Rated G. You don’t get those stories here, doesn’t matter if you share a Pizookie with me or walk down Coventry holding hands and looking as if you are afraid to let go of my hand.
I imagine Mr. Telemarketer was flummoxed just as the aforementioned fool who tried to catch me with the gotcha question.
“But Mr. Wilner if you don’t give me your card I can’t hold onto this wonderful vacation for you.”
“Well Mr. Telemarketer I have learned wonderful things can be held with two hands but it is bad form to force someone so I am going to hang up.”
He sputtered something and I thought about the $732.98 I just saved.
Maybe I should have asked him if he could start over.
Gatsby’s creator is on my mind and if he weren’t dead I’d tell him I am helping to keep him alive.
“Actually that’s my secret — I can’t even talk about you to anybody because I don’t want any more people to know how wonderful you are.”― F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night
The trainer at the gym and I go back and forth about the best ways to try and fool the years into leaving me alone.
He says to keep doing what I am doing and to be patient but it is not easy. It is not natural for me to sit back and watch, wait or listen for some things.
It makes me crazy to see how fast certain pieces of the puzzle return. Fifty years hasn’t been long enough for a full mutiny and I can see/feel the muscles in my arms and back respond.
Muscle memory is my friend and I can blast through sets with the same weights I did thirty years ago. When things are flowing I feel my blood pumping and feel like I can throw iron through the wall.
I don’t just like it, I love it.
This adrenaline rush reminds me I am alive.
“I want to know you moved and breathed in the same world with me.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald
That fire inside is burning with the same intensity as it always has. It confuses me and the uncertainty coerces me forward to explore the cave in which it lies.
Understanding can’t come without education and experimentation or maybe it can.
Maybe the trick is to recognize that some magicks simply are and you can pull the curtain but not find the wizard or his hot air balloon hiding from you.
It is why you look at the things and people that have destroyed and or built you up and smile because you can’t appreciate the warmth of the sunlight if you haven’t wandered through the darkness.
Sometimes you have to feel like you are drowning before you realize you know how to swim and all you need to do is find your north star and follow it to shore.
These things I know give me patience to push on and see what happens without expectation but with curly lipped smirk and a sparkle in my eyes.
More importantly for the present moment they allow me to ignore the need to tear apart the blog and rebuild it.
Got to burn this place down and rebuild it cuz I stand before the teenagers saying we ought to not let fear of change stop us from taking chances on making improvements that can only come from trying to learn how to fly.