07
Jun
15

watcha gonna do?

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I awoke from a nap in the middle of the night and began thinking about friends I had in college. I found one who had died in 2006 and another who is living in retirement in Oregon. I would have never recognized her from her picture; she has changed so much. I still remember the high-top gym shoes she used to wear, which I have never stopped thinking were so cool. How many lifetimes ago was that?

For the last couple of days, I have been playing mixes of the popular music that has filled the intervening decades, and I can assure you there have been many lifetimes lived. Hearing some of those old songs reminds me they were not all happy years. Few people from the old days, if still alive, would be interested in re-establishing contact with the screwed-up kid who once crossed their paths.

There is a tendency to think that everyone else’s life has been so perfect, that everyone else’s youthful dreams have somehow reached fruition. But I know this isn’t true. I have a sneaking suspicion that my college friend who died may have committed suicide. I tried to visit him many years ago, but he was as elusive as someone in hiding. He had so much promise when we were kids, but from what I could tell, he had experienced a good deal of struggle (or even failure) and didn’t want to put it on display. At least that is my guess.

Most people who have lived satisfying lives are somehow able to reconcile what life actually gives us with what we had once hoped for. It is a constant creative challenge to avoid feeling a sense of defeat. Not everyone can be a movie or rock star, and of those who make it, not everyone is happy with how they have ended up.

I think the secret of life is to always be thankful for what life does give you. No matter how it squares with your expectations, a thankful frame of mind will prepare you to make the most of what you get.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Pablo Cruise performing “Watcha Gonna Do?”

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