Good morning, yesterday
You wake up, and time has slipped away And suddenly it’s hard to find The memories you left behind Remember, do you remember?
It was 1975 when I was just shy of 16, counting myself lucky to have found a legally licensed friend to drive us both on double dates to sophomore prom. As with all proms, it was themed after a popular song of the time. Paul Anka was big back then and “Times of your Life” had just hit Kasey Kasem’s top 10, earning it the theme of our adolescent gala. Today at 61, single and dateless for 11 years, I heard the song again this past Sunday morning on the oldies station and sang along with all the memories it wafted up from days gone by. Back then, and as adolescents with seemingly immortal lives ahead of them often do, we thought it was all about us. We’d understood the song to be about the hope of what lied ahead of us, not of one man’s reflection backward on those experiences which had already long passed into memory.
Tinkering along in the garage as old men do, I was signing a song that brought back so many great memories of high school, while at the same time realizing it was truly a song of reflection on times and experiences long since passed. And a lot has passed indeed. Almost half a century. I thought “So what do I have to show for those 50 years?” What have been those times of my life in particular they say race through your mind like celluloid as you wave and take your final bow only to retire your sore ash self dusted to the four winds over a favorite place you once knew and remembered?
Apart from a knack for run-on sentences, a lot.
My list would first include people like my kids and grandkids, my family, my best friends, my dog, a few bosses, a few pastors, several complete strangers, all of whom might either not exist or whose lives would otherwise be quite different without having spent at least some time or interactions with me. Indeed, they represent the most significant times of my life.
Next would be circumstances. My marriage, even my divorce, my family ad agency, my drug addiction, my recovery, my work with poor seniors and the homeless, and the times I spent writing stories about all these times of my life for others to experience. Finally, I’ve spent much of my life urging my kids to “like things, and love people,” And as one who just recently gave away 95% of my possessions as part of a purge while moving my residence, I condensed all things that ever mattered at all into a 5×5 storage space, which is still more than I can take with me. I’m not terribly thankful for the things I’ve accrued over half a century. In fact, I can’t think of any item that has made any time of my life any more memorable. Honest reflection makes gratitude easy. At 61, I’m most thankful that memorable people and memorable experiences, good and bad, are all that seem to matter anymore. At 16 and self-centered with my whole life ahead of me, I never imagined that this time of my life would be the time of my life.
Good morning, yesterday.