Someone recently reminded me, we are all on our own path… duh. If you meet me on the road, put me out of my misery. Pay me no attention, don’t follow mm. I’ve done stupid things. I am not your teacher, therapist, or guru. Just an old guy writing to myself, for myself about the things that I wish I would have known. The Love Change Grow endeavor shares hoping it might help others to avoid the tar pits that I’ve been stuck in. If they are of value, great… and if not great. You are the one that determines its value.
Life has been a path of wonderful and horrific experiences. It is a life sentence. In retrospect there have been parts of my life that have been a series of addictions or being addicted to life. Having come of age in the “sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll” of the 1970s has been quite the ride. For instance, sex has run the gamut from adolescent interest, being horny, obsessed, pornography, strip shows, living with girlfriends, having kids, and figuring out marriage. Marriage is the real thing. Difficult, challenging, and learning to communicate, interact, and be a part of something larger and deeper than myself. Yet also learning who I am, being thankful and graceful.
The parallel experiences of drugs; ranging from cigarettes, beer, pot, cocktails, a smattering of pharmaceuticals and epic hallucinogenic trips. This rabbit’s hole lasted about 10-12 years. Some of these holes were quite fantastical, interesting, and terrifying. One day it occurred to me, this is the same old rabbit hole I need to try a different rabbit hole. Perhaps real life would be interesting and challenging? Yup, I’ve needed all my wits for reality. The problem with reality is that you can’t blame or attribute it on being too high or intoxicated.
The rock and roll adventures. Which began as a young teen, listening to late night FM, playing vinyl on a crappy record player with black lights, velvet posters in my darkened basement room. At the ripe age of 16, I became a regular patron at a tiny blues bar. A dumb luck introduction to the old school blues men and women of the 70s blues revival. Oh, this is where EC, ABB, Zepelin, and the Stones were getting their inspiration from. For, 10 years that little bar became home away from home. Of course, there were the occasional outings for Grateful Dead shows, where just getting to the show was an exercise in survival and a pilgrimage. An adventure of witless wonder. Whoa, that was fun… surviving at trip to the dead.
To be transparent, I have done many questionable things. Being ashamed, embarrassed, and horrified; kids don’t do what I did. Life is a sentence without parole… and “no one gets out alive” (Albert Collins, Adventures in Baby Sitting, 1987). Life’s most tough challenges in retrospect have been some of the greatest and most quick learning opportunities. My nature of being stubborn, incorrigible, and independent has been a dangerous combination. Where the only reasonable explanation for my survival is angels.
Perhaps living life is about getting street cred? Been there, done that… don’t want to go back. But have come to appreciate my trials and tribulations and would not trade them for the world because they have made me what I’ve become. Maybe I’ve reached a point in my life that I don’t care what folks think. Realizing that I have no control of what another thinks. And discovering that it’s more important to figure out what I think and how to deal with and respond to reality. This doesn’t mean that I should do whatever I want. But how can I can be graceful and compassionate? God knows that I have been blessed by the kindness, mercy, and grace of strangers.
My two saving graces was that my parents gave to me was: Timmy Lee, if you are smart enough to get into trouble, you are smart enough to get out of trouble. And “well I guess you are going to learn… the question is what are you going to learn?” I continued to get into trouble and thus continued to learn… lol. Stupid things like being 6 years old and jumping off the roof with a homemade parachute made from an old umbrella which did not work as expected… and it only took one try. Then off to the next challenge and trying to figure out what to do.
Point is, follow you own path. In reality, you can only be on your path. So, it is up to you. It’s a life sentence without parole. Don’t get distracted by following others. Others can save you from making mistakes and getting lost in the weeds. You can stand on the shoulders of giants is to gain a better perspective. But only by focusing and being mindful of your path, assures that you arrive.
Blessings from the road (East coasting this week).