Thursday, March 15, 2012

Reflections

Wond'ring aloud how we feel today.
Last night set the sunset,
my hand in her hair.
We are our own saviors as we start
both our hearts beating life
into each other.

Wond'ring aloud will the years treat us well?
As she floats in the kitchen
I'm tasting the smell
of toast as the butter runs. Then she comes,
spilling crumbs on the bed,
and I shake my head.

And it's only the giving
that makes you what you are.

- Jethro Tull, "Wond'ring Aloud"

Monday, August 22, 2011

Something for everybody

Ladies and gentlemen of the Class of '97: Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth — never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me. In 20 years you'll look back on photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future, or worry but know that worrying is about effective as trying to solve an algebra equation while chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be those that never crossed your worried mind, the kind the blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you. Sing. Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss. Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead. Sometimes you're behind.

The race is long, but in the end it's only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old banks statements.

Stretch. Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. Some people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry; maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children; maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40. Maybe you'll dance "The Funky Chicken" on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half-chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it any way you can. Don't be afraid of it or what people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own. Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. Read the directions, even if you don't follow them. Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but it's the precious few you should hold onto. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, for as the older you get, the more you'll need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once but leave before it makes you soft. Travel. Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old, and when you do you'll fantasize that when you were young prices were stable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders. Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse, but you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40 it'll look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting out all the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

- Baz Luhrmann, "Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)", drawn from the 1997 essay "Advice, like youth, probably wasted on the young" by Mary Schmich in The Chicago Tribune

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Been looking for a reason, man, something to lose

Lot of uncertainty, lot of changes. I spent a lot of time playing and listening to this song today.
I know what you're thinking:
We are going down.
I could feel us sinking.
Then I came around.

And everyone I'd loved before
flashed before my eyes.
And nothing mattered anymore.
I looked into the sky.

Well, I wanted something better, man;
I wished for something new,
and I wanted something beautiful.
I wished for something true.
Been looking for a reason, man,
something to lose.

When the wheels come down,
when the wheels touch ground
and you feel like it's all over,
there's another round for you
when the wheels come down.

Know your head is spinning.
Broken hearts will mend.
This is our beginning
coming to an end.

Well, you wanted something better, man;
You wished for something new.
Well, you wanted something beautiful.
You wished for something true.
Been looking for a reason, man,
something to lose.

When the wheels come down,
when the wheels touch ground,
and you feel like it's all over,
there's another round for you
when the wheels come down.

- Foo Fighters, "Wheels"

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

All the wrong turns, the stumbles and falls brought me here

Darren and I are back from a weeklong trip to Aruba, slightly more tanned and refreshed ... and engaged! Darren popped the question early in our vacation while we were kayaking on the ocean. I was super surprised and of course said yes. He gave me a gorgeous platinum ring, and right after he put it on my finger, I looked out into the ocean and pointed out two sea turtles swimming right by our kayak — a good omen!

So, the wedding planning has begun. I'm doing initial research and figuring out dates, location, budget, etc. It'll probably be stressful, but I'm hopefully giving myself enough time by aiming for an August 2012 date. Of course, I sometimes yearn to just have it happen right now, but I also want to have plenty of time to plan and enjoy our engagement. For nearly four years, Darren has been my best friend and partner in crime. I'm so excited and feel so lucky that we'll be able to be together for the rest of our lives.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

When I awoke, I was on the onset of a later stage

"You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? All of a sudden, even though you have someplace where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone.

You'll see one day when you move out. It just sort of happens one day and it's gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It's like you feel homesick for a place that doesn't even exist. Maybe it's like this rite of passage, you know? You won't ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start. It's like a cycle or something. I don't know, but I miss the idea of it, you know?

Maybe that's all family really is: a group of people that miss the same imaginary place."

- Zach Braff (as Andrew Largeman), "Garden State" (2004)