“Youth is wasted on the young,” somebody once said. And at the risk of turning into that which I once despised, perhaps its so obvious it doesn’t need to be said, its clear to me that the young don’t know how good they’ve got it. Of course they can’t. I certainly didn’t realize how much control I could have asserted over my own life during my late teenage years, into my twenties. I don’t know how often I’ve thought, ‘Damn, if I only knew how fast the time would go…If I knew then what I know now.’ But really, would it have made a difference? What would I be doing differently now? Would I be a filmmaker, an actor, or a lawyer? (All things I had thought seriously about as vocational pursuits years ago…) Hell, I’m only forty one years old, a far cry from a truly old fart, but I’ve already dealt with back problems, I’ve got a lil paunchy beer-gut , and when I look in the mirror I don’t just see my old man, I see my grandpa; my features less angular, more rounded, and the corners of my eyes lined with jolly wrinkles. The fact is I will never again be as handsome, athletic, or agile, as I was at my peak. From here, at my middle-age, it seems its just doomed evanescence, a long fade.
But that is bullshit.
It becomes clear immediately that this line of thinking is an exercise in futility; one finds one’s self caught up in the shoulda-woulda-coulda trap. For the truth is I really couldn’t pinpoint what lessons of wisdom I’ve picked up that would have significantly altered the heretofore paths of my life. Time neither waits, nor cares for anybody; never stops to make sure you catch your breath, get with the program, draws you a map or gives you instructions. I had my own designs on life, my own particular ambitions and dreams, but I was also just rolling with the punches, bobbing and weaving as they came. As John Lennon said in the song, Beautiful Boy, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
Ergo, “You do what you are.” Another phrase I’ve read somewhere that made, and continues to make, sense to me. A simplicity that is illuminating and actually liberating. You can always tell yourself that you’re going to do this or that, ad infinitum, in order to become this person you desire to be, but unless you do it, those are merely intentions, and we all know what those are really worth. Instead of wondering what could have been, I’ve made the decision to try and be present in whatever I choose to do, and whatever will be will be. Que sera sera! The onus is on me, on my habits, on my routine and ritual to make me who I aim to be. I have done what I am, all of it. The bad and the good. The proud and the embarrassing. If I hope to change myself I have to actualize that change. Yes, easier said than done, but true nonetheless. Whatever I default to, whatever I do, that makes me who I am. One must do, to be.
Where I once rebelled against any and everything, thinking there was a simple dichotomy of right and wrong, and a clear distinction between the liberty of the individual versus the good of the collective, I’m now all too aware of the nuanced and subtle gradations of critical decisions life forces you to make. To appreciate the wonder of life is to appreciate quality more than quantity, to have discerning taste based on personal consonance which refines itself with the passage of time. I know what I like but I’m open to learn more.
I still carry the passions of my youth: rock and roll, poetry and punk, all kinds of books, from fiction to non-fiction to comics, visual arts, cinema and sculpture, low-brow and high brow, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Hell, one of the most fun things about having a four year old son is playing with him and his toys and remembering the magic and inspiration those toys create! I love that, even at this young age, I can show him cool books with beautiful art, play him rad records I know he’ll be moved by and dance to, or watch movies with cool practical effects like the works of Jim Henson that will ignite his imagination.
So now, since I’m not getting any younger, I just gotta do me: in honor of all that inspires me, and because it inspires me, I’m gonna write. I want to write about the familiar stuff that gets me fired up and I want to write about cool new things I’m always learning. I wanna share cool stuff I might find and I want to have a place where others can share. I want this to be a respite from the semi-literate scribes who offer ADHD-addled click-bait and snarky echo-chamber analysis lacking any considered contrary opinions, thoroughly devoid of nuance or subtlety. I refuse to let teenagers and twenty-somethings corner the market on culture. I will not pander to Millenials or the iGeneration who try and tell me what my youth in the ’80s was like. Until I’m dead and gone I will always give a fuck, charged and electric, synapses firing a Tesla coil lightshow, and my hope is Aether Ore will be my conduit.