If dreams were thunder
Lightning was desire
This old house it would’ve burned down
A long time ago
As opposed to starting out the New Year with all sorts of proclamations about beginning anew and driving oneself to a more ripped physique, this one is for all of the people who choose waiting for something good to happen to them as their premium strategy.
Waiting on stuff is something we all do at one time or another. Some women in relationships wait on their significant others to get off their behinds in time to propose. I feel waiting on a guy beyond five years for this to happen is wishful thinking and not something to keep doing. Personally, guys need to move it or lose it at that point, unless staying casual is the end game for both parties.
Loser is a term loosely thrown around for people who aren’t outwardly driven or self-motivated. Some people think greatness will one day find them. They go through their lives with an inner voice telling them to be patient, to wait for it, as the good things always intended eventually will come their way.
Being patient is hard in a world that advertises the fleeting riches of instant gratification. The thing to remember when pursuing goals is that life’s deadlines are very flexible—much more so than say those a city editor imposes on his reporters. Life has a way of blindsiding ambition, tearing it from our stomachs and making us eat the disappointing shards, regurgitating them repeatedly, over and over again. Those in a hurry for success typically suffer life’s disappointments most dramatically. Those of us able to keep life’s defeats in perspective, or those who know that even while they rush to and fro about their daily schedules, less intensely focusing on the supposed greatness they are destined for, may just possess the one quality in spades that enables them to enjoy life best.
I recently watched brilliant, veteran actor Dennis Farina in 2011’s The Last Rites of Joe May. The notes in the movie guide described him as an “aging hustler.” Farina’s character, Joe May, had gone through life thinking something big, something great, was coming his way. He just had to wait for it, be patient and it would be his. Joe May was trying to continue in a life no longer relevant—fencing electronics, or in this late stage of life, meat, for fortune and fame.
Joe had mostly lived a ridiculous and unfulfilling life until he met the young mother and child who had rented out the apartment he had lived in before he took sick with pneumonia and a hospital stay. His landlord thought he had died so he rented out his apartment to them. After spending a night on the cold, grey streets of Chicago, the woman and daughter take him in, offering him to stay with them for $100 a week. Joe accepts and this chance interaction changes him forever.
Joe’s search for the big time is a lot like those of us who search too intently for love. Philosophers of love will speak clichés like, “love happens when you least expect it.” This is similar to hearing, “stop trying so hard,” when it comes to beating ourselves up for not finding the job, significant other or overall life we feel we deserve. It is hard to keep the big picture in mind when everything in our immediate, present life is crashing down upon us.
Apple’s recent 30th birthday celebrations for the Mac remind me of retirement ceremonies for workers who have been with the same company for decades. After that lengthy an association, a little piece of your identity, self-worth and sense of good things to come is surgically excised upon receiving that last handshake, dissociative hug or plastic round of applause. In Apple’s case, I wonder if celebrating the Mac (and patting themselves on the back for it) simply affords stalling time to wait and plan on what’s next for the Mac and Apple itself by an executive team that’s lost its mojo.
Ralph Kramden was a guy who always was starting things but never finishing them. His regular job was that of a bus driver. He was self-acknowledged good at his job but one of the constant themes of “The Honeymooners” was Kramden’s search for greatness and the hot water it got him in. Alice, his lovely wife, all too often was the steady, loving influence that tenderly guided him through his unfruitful schemes for a better life for himself and her.
When do we realize and accept that greatness or a better, more fulfilling life can be had or is even possible, but might never quite reach us? That is a rhetorical question. I think it can be sadder to strive for something, drive oneself into the ground in search of that certain, special something or someone in the name of happiness, than it is to simply try to do the right thing and live your life as best you can from day to day. Certainly the disappointment of not landing that great position or dreamy significant other is buffered by living with the mindset of acceptance of the good, bad and indifferent life can throw our way.
Ralph Kramden bemoaned not being able to “hit the high note” in one of The Honeymooners’ episodes. He was talking about when as a youth he played the coronet and never could quite hit the high note on it. Ralph was in search of a promotion but didn’t get it. By the end of the episode Ralph had earned newfound respect from Alice based on how he had conducted himself. While Ralph may have only been able to find a piece of the high note on the coronet, he was still able to have happiness in a life where he would stay a bus driver, remarking:
“You know something, I did hit that high note once–the day I married you.”