Dear Jackson,

December 31, 2009

RIP: The Aughts

Filed under: Before Jackson, Birth to 1 year-old — Tags: , — aJOHNymous @ 6:28 pm

There’s only a few hours left of 2009. The aughts–as they’ve been recently dubbed–are over. A new decade is beginning, and with that; new hopes, dreams, and resolutions are also being born. It’s been a crazy year, that’s for sure. It’s been an even crazier decade. I finished high school, graduated from college, got married, and by the end, I had a son. It goes by so fast.

I remember how I spent New Year’s eve, 1999. The Y2K scare was still in effect. No one had any idea what would happen when the world went from 1999 to 2000. Some people stockpiled food and water–just in case the world ended, I guess. Most of us just got drunk and partied into the wee hours of the new millennium. When I say most of us, I don’t include myself in that statement. I was at home, watching movies with Lady–the border collie I’d grown up with. We watched the ball drop in New York from the comfort of my boyhood home. I could have been out with my friends, drinking and carrying on, but I chose to spend the evening with one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and just take it easy. If the world were truly going to end, I wanted to be by her side when all hell broke loose. I knew nothing crazy was really going to happen, but I held on to that “what if?” scenario just in case. It made it more interesting, I suppose.

Fast forward 10 years to today. I’ll be spending the evening with my wife, my golden retriever, and my son. In a way, it almost feels like I’ve come full circle. The circumstances may be not be the same, but are they really that different?

As far as resolutions for 2010 (and beyond), I have a few:

1. Write more.
2. Learn to play the guitar.
3. Work out, eat healthy, and take better care of myself.
4. Write more.
5. Talk to a therapist about my many issues.
6. Be a better son, husband, and father.
7. Write more.
8. Be happier.
9. Turn a hobby into some sort of an income.
10. Slow down.

Jackson, I can’t say this enough: it all just goes by so goddamned fast. Take from this life as much as you can. Be as greedy as you can be with your goals and aspirations. Don’t ever wake up and ask yourself “what happened?” One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.

Let me put it a different way: I can remember how I spent my evening 10 year ago, but I cannot for the life of me remember a single thing about what I did and where I was on this day 20 years ago. Keep your memories close. Document everything you can because when you’re gone, that’s all that will be left. But you know what hurts the most? Sometimes it just dissolves into the ether before you can even document it. 6-years old seems so long ago today. It’s practically another lifetime. I’d give anything to just be able to remember a significant fraction of it.

Carpe diem. Nihil Desidera.

Seize the day. Regret nothing.

Cliché? You bet your ass. But that doesn’t make it any less relevant or important.

As is my way, I’ll download the events of the last decade into my memory banks and leave you with a nearly 20-year old quote. It feels eerily appropriate, chilling even, in how easily it can be related to the last 10 years of my life. It’s the final narration from the series finale of “The Wonder Years” TV show.

***

“Things never turn out exactly the way you planned. I know they didn’t with me. Still, like my father used to say, ‘Traffic’s traffic, you go where life takes you’. Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you’re in diapers, the next you’re gone, but the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a time, a place, a particular fourth of July, the things that happened in that decade of war and change. I remember a house like a lot of houses, a yard like a lot of yards, on a street like a lot of other streets. I remember how hard it was growing up among people and places I loved. Most of all, I remember how hard it was to leave. And the thing is, after all these years I still look back in wonder.”

***

Goodbye, aughts.

Happy new year, son.

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