Golf is a magical game.
In just one round of golf, a man can curse the very earth he walks upon, drink himself into a stupor, smoke more cigars in a day than a person should smoke in a year, get sunburned, and play what would qualify as an absolutely terrible game.
The magic? It'll still be one of the best days you've ever had.
I anticipated that much, but what I couldn't have seen coming was the reflective mood I was in for the rest of the night, once I was done living out my same-day hangover. At first, I couldn't fully appreciate the introspection, because my mind was still hazy from the Straw-Ber-Rita. As the night went on and I eventually got myself down enough to sleep, I started to drift my thoughts back towards the recent writer's block that I've had.
When I first finished Acid Wolf, I thought I'd attained my pinnacle. Not necessarily in the sense that I couldn't improve as a writer, but that I didn't have to anymore. I was happy with where I was, and I'd achieved my childhood dream of being a published author, even if it was in the form of an online book.
Then I allowed commercialism to define my success, and be it a lack of advertising, or perhaps the book wasn't nearly as well written as I'd expected of myself, Acid Wolf never sold as well as I'd dreamed.
This is where I'll pause and say to anyone who wishes to be a writer in any form of the word, at least, for a living, do NOT let commercial success define your happiness as an author, or you will fall into deep depression and achieve a whole lot of nothing for a long, long time. A backup plan for finances isn't a bad idea, either.
The reason this morning ended up being of such a somber nature was that I realized I wasn't disappointed by the lack of commercial success anymore, but rather, I'd had a new epiphany about why I might be lacking the motivation to work on the Acid Wolf sequel, or my new project, tentatively titled "The Keepers."
Completing my new projects won't fix what is fundamentally wrong.
All this time, I'd thought that achieving widespread publishing success would bring me joy, because I'd be getting to live out my dreams and do what I wanted with my life. I'd be living the oldest dream that I'd ever had, free as a child with a whole new future ahead of him. And yet...that just wasn't quite right. All this time, I knew something was off, and I couldn't put my finger on just what it was.
We're getting older.
Our generation, one of the first of the "instant gratification" generation, is starting to age. We were born into an age of economic growth and greatness, and the "dotcom" era was just about to begin. The world was changing just as much as we were as we grew from children to adolescents, and all in all, life was amazing, no matter how much I let a mental illness, something I now consider to just be a mental weakness, make me think otherwise.
Going into high school, wasting four years of my life and graduating didn't cement the fact that we're getting older. Spending six more years wasting time at a community college and finally getting a degree didn't cement it any more than that. The marriage of my sister didn't do it, my brother's marriage and following divorce didn't do it, and the birth of my first nephew was just the first rock down from the landslide.
Now, my other brother is getting married, and I've been given the honorable distinction of best man for the first, and possibly only time in my life.
It's not the fact that Sean is getting married that makes me feel this way. It's not the fact that I'll be the last one to get married in my family, or that Cooper is growing up so fast, or that I just passed my 4th year working at Panduit.
It's the changes. The veritable revolution of my life. And those changes are reinforced by idiocy.
My friends and I grew up on a generation of movies that we were too young for, but we took the lessons and morals within to heart as facts: You'll party your way through high school and college, get laid at every turn, and magically step out of your four year university with no debt, a six figure job, and somehow, despite insurmountable distances and the dramatics that make up every day life, you and your circle of friends will never permanently disband. In fact, you'll grow stronger over time because of that distance, and manage to get back together and having amazing times again and again long after you're out of your 20's.
Only one thing out of that diatribe could be considering even remotely factual, and as you may have guessed, it's the insurmountable distances. People grow up. People change. People leave. Some look back and return quickly, others never look back and fade into obscurity.
Now, here I stand, looking upon what could easily be the last chance for a small group of people that I spent countless hours of my life with to reunite, even just one more time, even for just a few short, priceless hours, and I want nothing more than to make it happen, but deep in the darker recesses of my mind, I know that the final gathering of that group happened many, many years ago...perhaps six or seven now, and that I've long since missed the chance. I'd give anything for even an inkling of it to happen; something as simple as a quick group photo to take with me and keep the memories alive would suffice, but even that is an impossibility, now.
Nothing will change it. No amount of phone calls, getting people to apologize for their transgressions, getting others to learn to forgive and forget, no amount of pleading for people to understand that this moment is bigger than their petty disagreements...none of that will work. Most certainly, pertaining to myself, finishing my projects and getting done what I easily could have finished three or four months ago won't change a damn thing.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I'd been lying to myself, pretending that it somehow would, even if I knew better all along.
Perhaps, somewhere along the line, everyone else started changing, and in a way, I never did. In the immortal words of Randal Graves, "Sometimes I get the feeling the world kinda left us behind a long time ago." The difference between 24 and 33 could be considered massive, but I would have said the same thing about the difference between 14 and 24...and, yet...
I still have the same terrible fashion sense. I still have at least a couple of the same friends, at least, those who have stuck around here. I'm still a bit of a nerd and a geek at heart, despite my love of sports, racing and motorcycles. I'm still an aspiring author, just like I was when I started 10 years ago. I'm still not quite happy with my position in life, just like I wasn't back then, even if I would love to be able to relive every single moment of my life now, so I could see how much better it really might have
been. And believe me, I know, before everyone goes jumping on the whole "You can make new memories and live a new life," I am well aware of that option. I know the future is still an open book of sorts, and I hold the pen filled with the magic ink that can never be erased.
I just worry sometimes that I've already read through my favorite chapter.
Even now, I'm sitting in a messy room, surrounded by empty beer bottles and dirty clothes, listening to all of my favorite songs from 2003 while I pretend to clean up this mess heap.
Some days, it feels like everything has changed, and I'm still stuck in 2003.
Others, it feels like nothing has changed but the drink of choice.