She asked me to explain what I meant when I wrote about The Death Of All Things and I shook my head no and walked away.
“Jack, you owe me an explanation and I want it now.”
IÂ borrowedÂ a line from The Princess Bride and said, “Get used to disappointment.”
Didn’t turn around or wait to see if she heard what I said or responded.
Life is too short to give time and power to those who don’t deserve our attention.
I am more myself now than I have ever been and walking towards becoming who I want to be.
Some will debate whether that intersects with who I am meant to be but I won’t be among them because there is no time to spare.
â€œI never worry about walls because I have never met one I couldnâ€™t tear the fuck down. Never found one I couldnâ€™t scale, dig under or build a door through.
That is as true today as it ever was but the difference is my awareness is a thousand percent better than it once was.
It is a lesson I would share with my children but I am not sure it is one anyone can learn without having a certain amount of life experience behind them.
Almost True Confessions Of A Dad
Lost in thought somewhere between The Beach Boys God Only Knows and Jimi Hendrix’s May This Be Love I look out the window at the California sunshine and wonder if today is a beach day or not.
Don’t have nearly enough time to lie upon the sand or swim in the water, but I could sit on the shore, Ipad and phone in hand and work.
Can’t remember the first time I heard that Hendrix song, but it was long before it was featured in Singles, except the thing is I was single then and finishing college.
I remember the movie and that time as if it was yesterday, how time felt endless and how many choices were open to me.
Except the movie wasn’t yesterday, it was 1992 and the 23-year-old I was has been replaced by the older and wiser version of today.
Inside my head I can hearÂ Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble start playing The House Is Rockin’ and I can’t help but smile because every time it comes on the internal jukebox I know I am about to start another adventure.
My teenager pulls himself up to his full height and glares at me, “dad, I am almost 16. Stop treating me like I don’t know how to take care of myself.”
I tell him I have a history of jumping off of cliffs and out of planes without checking to see if I have a parachute.
“That doesn’t make sense to me. Where is the relevance?”
In many ways my kid is smarter than I was at his age but then again some of it is because he is far more concerned about not making mistakes and dealing with the consequences than I was.
I don’t want him to lose all of his caution but I want him to be more willing to take chances. This disagreement is about one of the rare moments when he really is going to do something stupid.
Could tell him in simple terms about some of the stupid moments, could give him details but some of those are moments he doesn’t really want to know about and I don’t really want to share.
I stand in the woods facing the castle, the trees hiding my presence from the people on the ramparts and watch.
The 23-year-old would have sprinted for the walls, tossed up a grappling hook and scrambled over without a second thought.
That kid was a physical beast and smart enough to deal with anything he encountered but that is not who I am anymore.
Still have the physical skills and ability to get up and over but lack the stamina to be confident I can keep up the physical needs for as long as might be required.
Better to work smarter and not harder.
I look at my teen and tell him I can explain.
“What do you think he happens if you jump out of a plane without a parachute?”
“What do you think happens when you jump off of a cliff into a lake?”
“You hope you don’t belly flop or break a leg. Now what does this have to do with me?”
“I have bellyflopped into the lake and I have proven you don’t always die when you jump out of that plane.”
“Dad, I know you are not serious.”
“Actually I am, I have belly flopped off of the cliff and though I haven’tÂ I haven’t had the literal experience of jumping out of a plane the analogy still works for me. Why? Because dying would have been easier than having to clean up some of the messes I got into when I was younger.”
We argue and debate and I win but only because he reluctantly accepts my authority…for now.
I know as he lives and experiences more he’ll question more of my choices and decisions and I applaud that.
It is good for him, albeit painful for both of us at times.
Peter Pan Got Old
If you read The Death Of All Things (link above) you saw the line about Peter Pan got old but I am here to say that old doesn’t mean dead.
Here to say that Peter may have aged but he never forgot he once knew how to fly or doubted that one day he would again.
That is part of the magic and the trick that keeps us going. The willingness to jump out of the fucking plane and flap our arms hard enough to fly or to have the presence of mind to figure out what you need to do it.
There are still those moments where I feel like Jon Snow and Ygritte has told me I know nothing.
ButÂ I know what song my heart sings and can see the path just well enough to follow it.
There will still be times when I am asked to hold the gate against the giant and it shall be done, but that won’t stop me from following the fairy dust path only I can see.