“Life is what happens to you, while you’re busy making other plans.” – John W.O. Lennon, Beautiful Boy
Today I turned 39 years young…or at least I think that’s how I’m supposed to talk, now that I’m just 365 days from the end.
That’s what happens when you turn 40, right, it all ends? Your youth is over. Your best days behind you. Any dreams you couldn’t fulfill, any goals you couldn’t quite finish off? Toss ’em out. Fuck ’em. If you weren’t going to get them done by now, you’re not ever going to, so you might as well call it a day because you’re already (at least) halfway done with your life, pal.
Once you turn 40, you might as well just put all your hopes and dreams aside. Four decades is a long time. Hell, if you’d been born just a couple hundred years earlier, you’d be dead already. I mean, the great John Lennon, someone who you will never, ever match-up to on just about any level? He barely got 40 years before some piece of shit put a couple bullets in him that ended his life, and now you find yourself on the precipice of that very same milestone.
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Truth to be told, I’ve always viewed 39 as a milestone directly related to Lennon. He’s my favorite artist of any medium in any genre of all time. I remember very well the day I found out that he was dead, and that he died the same year I was born; just a few weeks after in fact. It always, always seemed like it was just a tragically short amount of time to live. Now that I’m staring the same number, 40, right in the face, I realize that — for once — I was actually right as a kid.
40 years isn’t nearly long enough.
I’m just now, I think, getting “good” at life, and I still pretty much suck at it. I still make impulsive decisions from time to time, despite knowing that consequences both good and bad are attached to every choice. I still find myself pushing and pushing toward some perhaps impossible dream. Sure, I have three impossibly wonderful reasons to want to achieve that dream — I call them my wife, and my two sons — but, still, I’m not giving up in my middle age, apparently, on believing in myself. Which is, I realize thanks to my age and — ahem — wisdom, a really naive thing to do.
I have, for as long as I remember, called 39 the “Lennon Year.” Because, well, obviously, it was the last full of life he got to live. Holy shit, I cannot even comprehend living the next 365 days, only to have someone walk up and gun me down not long after. John accomplished so much more than I ever will. I don’t mean to go fishing for compliments or kind words here; because the truth is John did more in his 40+ years than most people could do in 400.
All I know is that right now I feel like I’ve got so much left to eat on my carne asada plate of life, that I don’t want to think about not getting to do this thing called “life” anymore. I’m quite sure that when John’s brain stopped functioning he couldn’t have had this thought, but part of me wonders if one of the worst things about dying so young is leaving so much on the table still. It’s a cliche, I’m sure, because I’ve heard other say it, but the reality is that as you go along, you do get better at doing the “life” thing. Of course, at some point the delicate nature of the sacks of meat and chemicals that are our physical vehicles through this life start breaking down, no matter how good at living we are, and suddenly you’re not so much getting better at living, so much as you’re just still doing it.
For much of my life, I’ve lived without much intentional direction, for a whole slew of reasons. Some people discouraged me… a lot. Like, a lot a lot a lot. They told me it was stupid. They told me it was a pipe dream, and impossible. Instead of hearing what I wanted to make my life’s goal and finding ways to help me achieve them, they took every opportunity to stifle, redirect, and straight up punish me for the direction I wanted to take. The end result was a lifetime of knowing where I wanted to go, but having no earthly fucking clue how to get there. Being who I am, I have certainly never given up, galvanized internally by the “Fuck you, I’ll do it anyway,” mentality that was one of the guiding lights in my life.
Speaking of guiding lights, I don’t want to paint a picture of my youth as this bleak hellscape where no one loved or cared about me. That’s just not true. I had people in my life who showed me what art can be, and what it can do for and with your life. Reno, Andy, Elena, Carol, Patty…these are the names of mentors and people who genuinely cared for and about me, and never made my vision for my life seem like a bad idea or impossible.
So, it’s also kinda their faults, huh, that I’m still so stubbornly, doggedly chasing that dream down? Yes. Let’s blame them for daring to give me hope.
As I start to stare 40 right in the face, suddenly my choices, my path, my direction, are taking shape. I’m realizing, thanks in no small part to the wisdom I’ve been given by truly amazing friends and family, that no matter how I got here, or there, I’ve always pushed forward in my own way. It’s literally all I’ve known to do all these 14,235 days so far. I keep pushing forward, ever forward. Perhaps to nothing. Perhaps to the same sense of unfulfillment that most of us feel, but I can’t and won’t stop, I don’t think, until I have no more days to count, or I’m literally incapable of pushing for physical or intellectual reasons.
Luckily for me, I still have 365 precious days until it’s all over, though. Since I have this here website, and since I love to vomit words on the Internet for attention, I’m going to document every single day of the last year of my thirties, starting today, on my 39th birthday. My hope is that over the next 365 days, I’m going to be able to actualize quite a few plans that will help me get closer than ever before to achieving that insane, impossible life’s ambition of mine. Maybe I’ll get those things done, and maybe, like so many times, I’ll swing and miss and fall on my ass. But, lucky you, you’ll get to read about all of it, if you want to.
I know, of course, I’ll never be able to match what John Lennon did with his 40 years. But the cool part about being me is realizing none of you assholes out there will either.
So, fuck it.
As John said, “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.”
Some More Recent Satire I Wrote: Donald Trump Jr. Will Attend Classes At Electoral College To ‘Become An Electrician’
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.
If you wanna get me something for my birthday, buy my book and leave a review that counteracts one of the troll reviews I picked up because I told a sociopath that works for Dan Bongino he’s a sociopath who works for Dan Bongino. Or don’t; I wouldn’t blame you.