It’s not the pain you’re afraid of.
It’s not the tragedies.
It’s not the outcomes either.
All of them are predictable.
After a while, the pain makes sense. Throughout time, you become comfortable in your discomforts because at least these things make sense.
I received a call on a Monday night from a nurse about my Mother. I was at work at the time. I was on an overtime shift. I was tired in every sense of the word. My mind was tired. My body was tired and so was my soul. I had life things going on. I had responsibilities that needed my attention and list of bills that needed to be paid. Work was busy and life was busy. Everything was busy at the time.
There are two branches of government here. The first branch is anxiety and the second is Panic. The two interact.
They create a sensory overload and mental chaos. The chest tightens, and it’s hard to breathe.
The heart races like a thousand angry horses, charging fast, and you can’t escape. You can’t get away.
Suddenly, it’s like the whole goddamned world is closing in on you, which becomes more frightening because you are vulnerable; you scream or you cry, and more than anything, you just want to jump out of your own skin. More than anything, you want everything to stop so you can calm down. The only problem is the harder you try to recover, the worse the symptoms become.
I have been walking around the city for decades now. I see different people from different places doing different things. I see the changes we’ve made as a society and the changes I’ve made within me. I see the Kamikaze taxis weave down the avenues and watch the mindless tourists along 42nd. St with their eyes wide open, looking up, and totally amazed by the tall building and the lights from Times Square.
I was somewhere around 19 when I landed my first the first suit and tie job. I was an entry-level salesman in the garment business. And when I say entry-level, I mean the I was at the lowest of the low of the industry.
I sold identification items, which, in less-than-fancy terms are the little labels sewn in the collar that irritate the back of your neck. This was my first real job. Although the item was necessary, it was still at the bottom of the priority list. I pitched the production managers garment manufacturers to sell them and create a new relationship, which was tough at best.
There are things I believe in life and I believe them, not because I was told to but because I have found them to be true. I believe music is essential. I think at one point, everyone needs to dance or at least drive a long drive with the windows down and the volume to a favorite song turned all the way up. I think we need to scream the lyrics in our best out-of-tune pitch.
Back as a kid, The Old Man used to have a Ford, Mustang fastback. He told us sometimes, you just have to open up the gas and let her rip. I feel this way too. Sometimes, we just need to open up and belt out a scream. Sometimes, we need to know we’re alive.
It all begins now—
It starts right now, as if today is the first day of the rest of your life.
In a short
while, I am going to bundle up and put on sweats, a hat, pull up my head, and
then I will step out into the January air and walk the hills in my town. I will
look at the scene around me and take in the first fresh breath of the year. And
then it all begins . . .