The Moment

“In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”

-Douglas Adams

There comes a time in every man’s life when he will be faced with a choice. There is no warning, there is no long buildup leading to the moment the choice presents itself. It simply arrives. No fanfare, no epic music, just a moment when you realize that no matter what you decide your life will never be the same again.

Some of these types moments happen to some men more than once. To live a life filled with defining moments is both blessing and curse.

They change you. They change the way you view the world. They change the way you view life. They change the way you view yourself. They change the very things that make you you.

Some of the choices are big, easily recognized when they burst into the room. Others are much more subtle; little things that only become apparent when they are added together.

They are all the same. And yet they can be so very different on the surface.

To be honest, I cannot complain. While there have been some very difficult moments, hard choices, I would not trade it. Because my life has been wildly exciting – with a serious relentlessness to the pace of the thrill-ride that I have been gifted.

But such a life comes with a price. There are many, too many, empty seats.

I don’t refill those chairs.

Occasionally someone will pull a new seat up to the circle, but the fireside is a much quieter place than it once was. Loss is a part of life, our universe of dualities requires that there be death to offset life. For every action an equal and opposite reaction. This is the way our reality functions.

I’ve experienced enough for any one man, and yet I still move through the world with the same hunger, the same fire that has driven me since I could form thoughts from the chaos of my evolving mind.

For the longest time, that fire was pure rage.

It drove me ever forward, pushed me further than I thought I could go, kept me warm when I froze, kept my feet moving long after I should have fallen down. It pushed me through things that should have ended me. Rage is a hell of an anesthetic.

But it is a poor substitute for life. Rage has no real future, has nothing positive to add to the world.

It’s fires burn hot and bright and then go nova. It consumes you, if you’re lucky you aren’t forced to survive that process.

After the nova comes the steel, you’ve been burned, hammered into a blade, tempered and forged by the hate that has driven you. It makes a wonderful weapon, a tool for vengeance.

But again, there is no future in that. There is no legacy, nothing eternal about hate except that it will always exist, long after those that hate turn to dust. The concept is all that survives.

Legacy was not something that was important to me as a young man. When asked what I wanted to do with my life as a teen I replied with: “I just need to live long enough to accomplish some specifics.” I refused to explain what I meant. I still don’t know that I really understood what I was saying at the time that I said it.

I get it now. But that was many years, many hard choices, many moments ago.

I am no longer that boy.

I am something forged from his ashes. Tempered by experience, now driven by something he would never, could never, understand.

I have always wondered about the why of things. About purpose and place.

I don’t pretend to understand the nature of life, of earth, of the universe itself. It only makes sense in the mathematical realm of thought. This is very little, and very cold, comfort. Math never explains why, only how and how has never been good enough of an answer for me.

I wonder why and how people can be so sure of purpose and place. I have never found any comfort in any of the places or purposes I have encountered on my path. That is not to say I am unhappy, just that I probably think more than is good for me and I wonder about things that do not have answers.

To me, those are the only questions that actually matter. I can’t just gloss over them and move on to answerable problems. I have this need, this burning desire to understand this here and now, to know why it’s all here and for what purpose it was designed.

Maybe that’s the answer.

Maybe there isn’t one. Maybe one of those defining moments I speak of is to force myself to stop asking why and just enjoy what time I’ve been given.

I’m not sure how to do that. Maybe there are just too many ghosts, too many echoes of hard places to let me coast through without the answers that will let them rest.

Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I think too much. Maybe I took all the wrong classes in college. Maybe I read all the wrong books. Maybe I walked down all the wrong paths. Maybe I made all the wrong choices when those moments found me. Maybe I… maybe, maybe, maybe…

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