Lines From The Wistful Memoir I Am Required To Write As I Am A Middle-Aged Man
All jacket covers for a memoir require a photo of a lake at sunset. Here’s a lovely one. Photo by Xroyalix [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
As the years drag by, inexorably taking us closer to the grave than the cradle, the need to leave a mark, no matter how small it may be, on the world grows stronger by the hour. If one is a writer, then the need to make that mark by filling pages with thoughts of things past and observations of the here and now in the context of a life that has been lived, then a choice, perhaps the only choice, is to write a memoir to share those ideas with the world, and, in turn, plant one’s flag on the hilltop of history. Anyway, here are some lines from my upcoming memoir, Where Has All The Whimsy Gone?
1. There’s something about an old school diner. The food is as honest as it is real. There’s nothing pretentious about the menu. You know what you are ordering and, more often than not, you get what you expect. We’d all be better off if people were more like diners.
2. I’ve never dated a Melissa. I say that with neither pride nor regret. It’s just a simple fact. I have never dated a Melissa.
3. You look back on life and you regret some of your choices, maybe a lot of them. But the choices you regret the most are the ones you never made. Maybe a couple of things you did in college too.
4. The day you choose to stop learning is the day you choose to die. This is also true of the day you decide to fight a bear.
5. You will look back at the may trips you have taken and realize that no matter how many fancy cruises you may have enjoyed, the ship that will have served you best is friendship. If you’re lucky, that’s one ship that will never give you a bad Norovirus.
6. Growing older is merely an ongoing process of watching your dreams die. Growing wiser is realizing that that’s okay, and maybe even for the best. It’d be ridiculous to have that many astronauts out there, for crying out loud.
7. Before the internet, or at least before we carried it with us in our pockets - which is amazing and would appear to a younger version of me to be nothing less than sorcery - there was a time when it was okay not to know. I miss those days when it was normal to argue over trivial matters for hours on end. Those were sometimes the best discussions and fondest memories. Now anyone can tell you within seconds the name of Boz Scaggs third album. I feel we have lost something here. Because sometimes the journey matters more than the destination.
8. Summer days would linger for us then. We would revel in the sun and wander aimlessly for hours on end without feeling the cold, sterile air conditioned chill inside. Now we avoid the sun and the heat, and, in a way, we avoid life, trading a lack of sweat for a lack of adventure and wonder.
9. We used to know our neighbors. Now we don’t. Unless they are on social media. But do we really know people there? A friend is not what a friend was.
10. One day you just wake up and realize that Puff the Magic Dragon is infinitely sad. And your life is never the same.
11. In the end, all your mistakes, all your setbacks, and all your failings are what make you who you are, and maybe just maybe, make you better. Being a billionaire astronaut would have also been cool, though.