Live Alone In A Paradise That Makes Me Think Of Two
Today is the 25th Anniversary of my arrival in Seattle (well, technically I spent a few months living in unincorporated Sea-Tac before officially moving inside the city limits in the winter of '86, but I worked in Seattle, so you know, semantics and what-not).
Hard to believe two and a-half decades have passed since I left the northern wilds of Bellingham, trekked south down I-5 in a 1972 Chevy Impala 4-door carrying everything I owned, to meet up with an ex-college roommate from Ellensburg, who had already secured us lodgings in what turned out to be probably the largest living space (as defined by total square footage times number of occupants) I've lived in during that entire time. We were both dirt poor, and knew probably only a handful of people in the city, mostly people with whom we'd gone to school, and had our sights set on breaking into the local theatre business.
And here it is, 25 years later: Kevin moved back to Shelton probably 20 years ago, bottomed out, and eventually got his act together, in the process becoming a substance abuse councilor (a subject he definitely knew a thing or two about, at least based on my own personal observations). Me, amazingly, I'm still "in the business", although not doing what I figured I'd be doing at this point in my life.
Funny how things turn out. At the age of 24 I was setting my sights on an artistic career (which has come true), but all the other more traditional goals: marriage, family, home buying, etc., etc. seem to have fallen by the wayside. And here I am on the cusp of 50, having to acknowledge that, barring some unforeseen miracle, most of those things are simply never going to happen. Not that I'm complaining - for the most part - because, all things considered, I've built a pretty good life. I live in a beautiful city (it has its problems, but what city doesn't?), have an interesting and challenging career, a passionate avocation, innumerable colleagues, and a handful of true-and-trusty friends, none of which I would give up for anything.
But still, one can't help but reflect, at least a bit, on what I may have missed in the process. For all intents-and-purposes, my particular genetic line ends here. That's a pretty sobering thought: I have several nieces, but you know, patriarchal blood-lines being what they are in Western Civilization, it means no more Comte's - at least on this branch of the family. Other branches will continue, but I'm not going to be contributing anything new to my own. I've become an evolutionary dead-end.
Do I regret it? Only slightly. I wonder sometimes about the experience of parenthood and the question not having been one inevitably brings up, namely, would I have been a good one? It's such an integral part of human existence that it's easy to take for granted, but for myself at least, knowing it's never going to be part of MY experience does make me feel somewhat, well, almost guilty in a way, like I've let down my genetic team somehow by refusing to get into the pool as it were.
But, one can only wallow in "woulda, coulda, shoulda's" for so long without risking becoming insufferably maudlin, and I don't have it in me to try for some ersatz emo/goth attitude, which would probably only end up making me even more insufferable, so there's that.
On the plus side, I've got some pretty good genetics working in my favor so far as longevity goes (three of my four grandparents have lived until well into their 90's), and therefore it's not unreasonable to anticipate I could hit that - or beyond. So, in a very real sense my life is truly only half over; with luck, I've got roughly another 50 years in me, which in and of itself leaves open all sorts of possibilities.
Although I seriously doubt shooting for "World's Oldest Dad" is going to be one of them. For one thing, what kid wants to walk down the aisle for their high school graduation to see some old geezer who rightfully should be their great-grandfather waving at them - unless of course he WAS their great-grandfather.
I suppose, in the end, there are some things you just can't quite let go of, regardless of the reality...
Labels: Life In General
on 12:32 PM