Today begins my forty-eighth trip around the sun (it’s my birthday). As I make more trips around the sun and have more prior trips to look back on, I do get philosophical and write about it but hey, it’s my blog and I’ll write and post on it when I want to (in tribute to the late great Lesley Gore who only cried at her party- no tears for me).
As I write this, I’m listening to The Rolling Stones album ‘Exile on Main Street’ which is celebrating its’ fiftieth anniversary this year. I watched a preview of the documentary about the making of that album and Mick Jagger said they felt like exiles when they made that record (they had left England after getting cleaned out by the tax man and a bad management deal they’d been in). They de-camped to the South of France and set up in the basement of Keith Richards’ villa and recorded eighteen tracks of ragged brilliance. But as Martin Fry of the band ABC said, “People took so many drugs they didn’t remember playing on the record.”
Since I’ve never taken drugs, I do remember more than I’d like to at times. But in the past eight years, I’ve taken a hard look back and although it’s been painful as hell at times, it’s also been liberating without the monster hangovers I’m sure The Rolling Stones went through back in the day. I am exile like they were though not de-camped in a villa in the South of France. I don’t know if anything I ever publish someday will be anywhere near the ragged brilliance of The Rolling Stones album I’m listening to but I’m trying.
A year is a long time when you think about but having a lot of years before this one is a lot of time to think about, too. One thing I’ve learned about looking back is not to think of regrets, of missed opportunities, or kicking the crap out of yourself for not doing things better. My late father used to say regrets were useless because you can’t go back in time and change things. I think the best thing you can do is try and learn from it. I also think you can let go of the past and not live your life to it, too. The most important thing is not to kick the crap out of yourself for not doing things better or in a different way. As my father also used to say, you do the best you can with what you’re given to work with.
The last line in the previous paragraph is one that has been very hard for me to work through because when I started looking back at my life a few years ago, one of the hardest things I had to deal with was thinking I should have done things differently simply because I thought people wouldn’t approve or some bullshit like that. Why would I want anyone’s approval if I handled something in a way they didn’t ‘agree’ with? They weren’t there so as far I’m concerned now, they don’t get a say in the assessment.
To quote from the song ‘Sweet Virginia’ by The Rolling Stones: “You’ve got to scrape that shit right off your shoes.” I think that’s the stage I’m at in my life because I know I’m a mess and far from perfect, but no one else is either. Besides, perfection can be boring.
But I do look back on some aspects of the past, like the 1970’s for example. Because back then before technology creeped in and corrupted so many people so badly, people just set out to do what they wanted to do and didn’t give a shit what ‘people’ might think. It wasn’t about seeking perfection but about finding some bit of truth, light, and love. I think this is what I’m looking for and working towards to. As I said to a passenger a few days ago when I was telling them about my dream of living in a house-on-wheels: “The road is calling me.”
Today I’ll go on the road later and make some money and put at least a dollar aside towards that house-on-wheels (and I’ll start putting dollars towards other things, too). I’ll keep writing because when I write and post I get action on this blog and have been gaining at least one to two followers a week. I’ve got plans for more and now I don’t feel the fear that someone will say something to me about those plans or how I do things. People can say whatever they want to me, but I know I can choose how to respond to them.
I went through so many years thinking I was a failure of a person because I wasn’t perfect in every way that I could have been or was supposed to be. I used to wonder why I couldn’t be that way but then I realized I am who I am supposed to be. Also, no one is perfect even if they shoot their mouths off and say they are.
So as I start my next trip around the sun, I’m going to build on what I do know: I’m alright. Sloppy, messy, mouthy (at least on paper here) while trying to be kind to others and take things as they come. Be kind to yourself because that’s where it all begins. And enjoy these trips around the sun because no one knows how many you’ll get.