July 16, 2012
Dust in the Wind
Something happened to me between my graduation from High School and the second half of my first year in college: I became Existentially Obsessed. A lot of it had to do with a painfully unrequited crush situation. I had been 17 when I left home, then turned a regressed 18. A lot came my way interpersonally that I was not equipped to deal with. I listened to the radio a lot and "Dust in the Wind" by the band Kansas became one of my favorites. At 18, then 19 -- arguably one of the worst years of my life -- I was convinced that my life would be over by age 25. Id either find some glorious death in "battle" or just end it all. "Don't hang on," counseled the song: "Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky." Sounded pretty good to me in 1979.
I read Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Baudelaire, Viking heroic tales -- Rolf Kraki's Saga with its cheerful, "Our lives have we lost, our last horn drained: to death are we given, we shall not see another sunrise." Sturm und drang was my breakfast cereal and Van Halen's first album my hymnal. I smoked, I drank, I exhibited the best self-destructive behaviors you could manage and still be alive the next day to do it all again.
Then oddly ... through a near-matrimonial association with a soldier, I started to look at life much differently.
"Dust in the Wind" went out the door with all the groaning dark German pessimists I'd been reading. So too went Davy Lee Roth. I found a new album: Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" that spoke of not being afraid to care. That life's summary was smiles and tears, all, but ONLY, what could be touched and perceived immediately in this Veil of Incarnation.
The matrimonial association did not work out, which was probably just as well. Instead I finished my undergraduate degree in History, then went to Grad School and got through that. I was briefly married, a huge mistake and I was miserable; at the same time I was diagnosed with cancer. I fought my way clear through both. I battled it out as a single person, then as coming Out as Bisexual.
By the time I got to 40, I realized that I had wound up -- by accident! -- involved with living and being involved with not just my own life, but the lives of other people who had grown in importance and even priority, past my own immaturity and narcissism. When people died, I grieved. When my four-legged companions lived out their lives and were "called home to Egypt," I started to understand that the Past begins the moment of life's cessation. There's no controlling it, no negotiating, only an end of a timeline, and all that is left is memory.
I'm 52, and my CD-alarm clock wakes me up in the morning with one of the albums I recall fondly from my second year of college, before everything fell horribly apart. The album is "Saturday Night Fever" and the tune, "Stayin' Alive."
Because as I stay alive, so do the memories, the smiles, the tears, and all intersections of this one life that I have.
Posted by lizcal at July 16, 2012 11:06 AM