I know why the youth are wild. I know that everything is all about time. Whether you’re young or old, it’s all about time. No matter how we slice this, we’re all on the clock in one way or another. The only difference is our priorities. The difference is our perspective.
See, as kids we used to look up at our parents. We’d look up at the adults in our circle of influence. We would see them work. We would hear them talk about life and bills, mortgages and insurance. As kids, we saw our parents work and argue. We saw them slave. We heard them yell at the television and argue with the news. We heard them complain about the price of gas. And when you’re a kid, you see this and swear to yourself, “I’ll never be that way.”
Who the hell wants to work for a living? You look at your parents and notice their flaws. You see the things they do to each other, which drive you insane, And you swear, “I’ll never be like that.” You think about the grind they face and you promise, “My life is never going to be that way.” Or, maybe not. Maybe there was a connection here. Maybe there was a sense of idolization. Maybe you saw your mom or your dad and said, “I’m going to be just like that someday.”
I know why the youth go wild. You live and you learn and you freak out because you know a time will come when you’re not allowed to freak out again.
I know that as kids, we looked around at the world we would someday inherit. We saw the stress. We saw the angst and we heard the long list of complaints. We heard about the bullshit politics. We saw our grownups come home after a long day at work; we saw their tired look, their stressed-out expression, and their long-houred day, plus their commute, which translated into a weekly paycheck, minus the taxes. We heard about their bosses. We heard about the people they did business with. We heard about the jobs they worked and we listened to them bitch or complain about life as it is. We looked at them and wondered, “Who the hell wants to grow up?”
I know why the youth go wild. I know why I wanted to scream from the rooftops. I know why I wanted to live, feel and taste every experience under the sun. I knew that the number of days to go as crazy as humanly possible were dwindling by the minute. I knew this the same as I know why I feel a rush of adrenaline when an old song randomly plays on the radio.
There is never enough time. There are never enough hours in the day. And whether we are young or older, time is always of the essence. There is no way to stop the clock. There is no way to rewind or replay. There’s just life.
I find myself running into me at the door. I work a lot. I have more than one job. I have a few positions. I have a day job that pays my bills and a night job that pays my heart. I have taxes to pay. I have a mortgage to contend with. I have a failing economy. I have bosses and projects and due dates and deadlines. And let’s face it, working for a living is a bitch sometimes.
I know why I used to look at my Old Man as he walked in the door.
I know why I looked at him and swore, “That’ll never be me!
Yet, here I am. I argue with the television. I curse about the price of gas going up. I’ve yelled at a few kids to get off my lawn and then I immediately laughed at myself right after. I never thought I’d be someone that shouted, “Hey you kids, get off my lawn!”
But I did it . . .
There are never enough hours in the day. There’s always something happening. There’s always something on the schedule. There’s never enough time to go to the Village anymore or head over to St Marks, which is different now. hell, everything is different now.
There’s never a night when we can howl with the boys or dance and scream out loud until the sun comes up. Besides, the recovery from nights like this are far more brutal than when we were kids.
I miss some of the wildness. I miss some of the long nights. I miss having a fast metabolism. I miss the downtown memories on the cobblestone streets and the Soho episodes. I was younger, certainly much thinner, and alive and able to dress the part.
I miss the countless tomorrows which seemed unending. I miss the wild details and crazy courtships of refusing to care and willing to dare it all.
I miss the mornings after when the sun came up. I was always worried that I’d never have enough time to figure out my life. I used to worry that I was going to miss something.
Here I am now. Still worried.
I don’t know if I’ll have enough time to pull things off. The windows of opportunity do not seem as plentiful as say, when you’re a kid and you want to see everything at once. I’m more focused now and my list of priorities have changed.
There was an afternoon I had to talk with a young teenage girl about her life. She was in trouble at school. She was in trouble at home. She was in trouble with the town and according to a judge, she was in trouble with him too.
The subject of jail came up. And we talked about doing time.
I explained this:
Either way, we are all doing time. Whether you do your time at school and get your work done there or you do your time at home, get punished, and do your work there is entirely up to you. Either way, you’re going to have to serve time.
You just need to choose where you want to do it.
I told her: I get it. You want to hang out. I get that you want to play around. That makes sense to me. Of course you want to play around. But if you choose to play around out there then you’re going to have to serve your time someplace else.
Unfortunately, she chose to serve her time elsewhere in the county lockup after stealing a car with one of her friends.
See, the world is all about trades. Sometimes you get and sometimes you give. Sometimes life is generous and fair and sometimes life is cruel and takes back. Ether way, everything comes with a price tag. So whatever you choose to do and wherever you choose to serve your time, be mindful. Be sure it’s worth it and be careful there’s no interest charges on the back end.
There is a common saying in jail.
Do your time. Don’t let your time do you.
I know why the youth are wild. I know why youth is wasted on the young. I know why I look back and think about the time I served to the wrong masters. I think about the time I wasted. I think about the mad dashes to people and places that never deserved my attention. I think about the wrong relationships. I think about the right ones and the people that I walked away from because I was afraid to serve the time or do the work that comes with being responsible.
I know that life is all about time. I know that our perspectives change. Therefore, time changes. Therefore, our view of how we spend our time evolves. And more than anything, now more than ever, I know that time is fleeting. I know that for me to pull off my trick, I have to work smart and manage my time carefully.
By the way, I remember hearing a song when I was a kid. And God, I probably haven’t thought too much about this song since then. I remember when music television used to play music. Hell, I remember the very first video they played.
There were literally thousands of tomorrows in my future. And here I am now with thousands of yesterdays in my past.
See? It’s all about time and our relation to it.
One cannot serve two masters.
I think this means more to me now than when I heard this as a kid.
Maybe that’s because I wasted so much time trying to please both.
Know what I mean?