Where Do These Stairs Go?

I’m that Tired Guy, you know the one who wonders each morning if today is the day. I’m that Tired Guy pondering life’s mysteries like a teenage girl examines prom dresses. Some are sheer and sexy, but mom won’t let you wear it. Others are frilly and flowery, but not showing enough leg puts you in the category of Joan Cusack wearing the neck brace while trying to drink from the water bubbler. Oh sure you have the handy doily to mop up the excess water dripping unceremoniously down your face, but who values substance over style these days anyway?

Sometimes I think I’m an anachronism, just like that Debbie chick in the song from the place.

You know the one, right?

Debbie just hit the wall
She never had it all

One Prozac a day

Husband’s a CPA

Her dreams went out the door

When she turned 24.

Only been with one man

What happened to her plan?

But then I realized the world grew up around me and I refused to hop on board. Because it’s easier to enjoy the past while struggling with the present. Memories are safe places because we can remember things as we’d like them to have been, and not necessarily for what they were. They’re choreographed, the colors are brighter, the moments more poignant.

As for the future, what’s that really anyway? Is it seven figures plastered to a 401k that you laboriously and painstakingly kept alive through turbulent economic times? Do you really carry that number around with you like matching luggage as the commercial suggests?

Big money got a heavy hand

Big money take control

Big money got a mean streak

Big money got no soul

Maybe I am on board except I’m chillin’ in steerage with Jack waiting for my Rose. Or was that the other way around?

“Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

Why? You see I don’t subscribe to the thought it was her parents keeping her down. They knew the truth. All that rock and roll, drinking, cavorting, lasciviousness. They were the custodians of the all-powerful trust fund. They suffered her living under their roof. She had to be protected. Her future, her prospects, their reputation, all of these things and more needed safeguarding. From the world? Maybe. From that good for nothing, hip-gyrating Johnny Castle? Possibly. From herself? More likely.

Yet Baby allowed herself to be stuck in that corner. It was all part of her very calculated and diabolical plan whose end result would always be an ensemble dancing number to a song sounding more in line with the 80s than the 60s. She fought against The Man by defying what proper civility of 1963 required.

‘Cause I’ve had the time of my life

And I’ve searched through every open door

‘Til I found the truth

And I owe it all to you

You can’t tell me she didn’t know what she was doing. And all of you nodding right now, please turn to page 23 of the hymnal.

She refused to let life pass her by.

Can you blame her?

Last night the missus and I watched Pixar’s Up, a wonderful yarn about an elderly widower and a young, overeager Wilderness Explorer flying to South America in search of…so many different things.

As the film unfolds in 96 minutes of color and clarity, I couldn’t help but think it was a mirror reflecting all those fractured pieces of myself I often wondered about on a daily basis, and sometimes even scribbled here.

Simply put, Pixar’s imagination goes far beyond mere animation. They delve into the heart and soul of what makes us human.

“My name is Dug. I have just met you, and I love you.”

Too often I stare out the window of my office wondering about where I should be, what I could be doing, and a host of dangling “what if’s”. The proverbial square peg in a round hole. Whether it’s complacency or some trick of the mind rationalizing any which way most of us allow ourselves to remain trapped, suffocated or cornered. And by the time light dawns on Plymouth Rock, you look in the mirror and realize it’s now 2010 and the 80s are starting to sound like the oldies.

Call me a relic
Call me what you will
Say I’m old-fashioned
Say I’m over the hill
Today’s music ain’t got the same soul
I like that old time rock ‘n roll

The truth is, we all let life pass us by at some point, to some degree. The trick is making certain you keep together who you are no matter how curvy or pot-holed the road might be. I’ve said it in this space before and I’ll say it again: cherish your family, find strength in their love for they have such utmost faith in you that nothing, and I mean nothing, can stop you from achieving anything.

We all have an Adventure Book, just like Ellie. And in it there’s a chapter entitled “Things To Do”.

So here’s some advice that I myself need to follow just as much as the next Tired Guy: Fill that chapter up people. Fill it with images of your successes, no matter how slight. Engage your imagination and seek adventure, whether it’s on your own, with a loved one, a gathering of friends or in the company of strangers. Strive toward those goals, you know the ones that have lain dormant and covered in dust for far too long. Start a family, renew your vows, finish a scrapbook (or start one!) and take the first step away from complacency and head to the light Carol Ann! Exercise that creativity, plan a journey, change careers, ask that pretty girl (or cute guy) out on a date.

If you want to change your direction
If your time of life is at hand
Well don’t be the rule be the exception
A good way to start is to stand
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

Maybe even work on a novel that’s been percolating in your brain for more than 25 years.

I promise, you won’t regret it.

Cross my heart.

G’night folks.

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