This is the end: A Personal Retrospective

Finally, the most dramatic of changes comes to pass, and its passing is so quick, banal, and uneventful, the words of an eternally prophetic song come to mind: "Is that all there is?" Is this all that I've lived for, all that I've seen, all that I've experienced and been? Have these been the faces of my friends and family, and how have those faces looked upon me? As an ally or an enemy? As a confidant or confessor? And what has there been that can be called an accomplishment? What victory? What quality or virtue? For what ends, and for whose amusement has this spectacle been staged?

All around me have been reminders of the person I have always wanted to be. Two guitars and an amp, subject to fickle usage, standing in stubborn opposition to the volume of worthy examples laying in slipcovers and jewel cases, a volume of testaments to the peril of creating something possibly imperfect, something decidedly unlike that perfect golden mean that sings forever in your brain in the voice of a million singers yet with a chord progression that can never correspond with the disappointing reality of clumsy fingers. The unfurling balladry of history's unceasing drama, filing itself neatly on dusty shelves, flirting with and occasionally inspiring a complementary turn from your own unfocused, unpracticed instrument, wanting so badly to whip unpolished thoughts into a pleasing theme, a universal emotion, a balanced progression, a fulfilling denouement. Ideas, left barren by inaction, grow fat and dissolute, gradually being replaced in the wake of the practical regime of the everyday, the common, a fearful battle in which the spirited dreamer is routinely trounced by the cynical march of the everyman and his dreary concerns.

And so it goes, what once inspired you to scale the heights of imagination now stands to remind you of the stupid, impetuous child you tried so hard to bury in the shallow graves of your subconscious. But he's there, spazzing out hard as you try to move gracefully through the austere hallways of the adult world you've fought so hard to earn harbor within. His rash immaturity takes a constant bow during the near constant flashes of anger you fear you may never learn to control. But once and a while his innocence appears, miraculously unsoiled, delighting in the fragile good of life, the small joys of a warm breeze, of cold sunlight on a winter's day, of unforced kindness encountered when the world demands totalitarian focus on the getting of one's own, all else be damned, I'm gonna get me mine and the rest can go rot.

There is only one life, though at the beginning there appear many paths. All roads narrow into a rutted trail, burrowing deeper into a darkening wilderness. Glancing back, one may see his fellow travelers fighting bravely into the woods, but ultimately every one is left behind, even one's self. All of the light compounds itself until it resembles the darkest, most enigmatic shadow.

On Friday I was offered a position as virtual reference librarian for an online university, and today I accepted the offer. My quest to begin my career took well over half a year.

The most I personally feel I can expect to live is ninety years, and that may in fact be an optimistic estimate. Therefore, if my life can be divided into thirds, the first third of my life will come to an end on March 26 of this year. Though I will technically begin my life as a professional career-type person within that first third, the great whole of that career will take place in the second and last third.

So neatly, so succinctly does my time of divulgent paths and untamed wilderness come to an end.


Oh my God, it's been such a long time!

Oh my god, how are you doing!  It's so great to see you, I just can't believe it!  I mean, I haven't seen you, in what, it's gotta be like ten months, hasn't it!  You look so great!  I love what you've done with your hair!  It looks like a Prince Valiant haircut in the front, but in the back it's got this little rat tail!  That is so original-looking!  And what a neat t-shirt!  I've never seen a wolf riding a unicorn through the clouds at midnight before! 

This last year has been so great, you wouldn't even believe it!  I've done so many exciting things, and I've met so many interesting people!  Everywhere I went, I met a new person, and every one of them knew twenty more interesting people that they told me everything about, and now I have about three thousand really great new friends!  And every one of them is always going out and doing really fun things, and whenever they go out and do those really great things they make sure to call me and make sure I can go with them and do really great things too!  It is so much fun!  I have to carry three cell phones, so I can keep all their numbers and receive all their calls!  They are all fantastic people, and I am very lucky to have them as friends! 

My career is simply out of this world, out of this world!  It is so good, in fact, that I'm working two jobs!  I'm working so much that I barely have time to spend all of the money that I'm making!  But I do my best!  The work I do is so rewarding, I wouldn't even mind if they paid me a little bit less!  If you told me eleven months ago that I would be working two really great jobs that were intellectually and creatively stimulating every second of the day, I wouldn't have thought you were telling the truth!  But it's true, boy is it ever true!  Every day when I go home, or I ride to my other job on the bus, I say to myself that what I have done today has truly served as a benefit to not only myself, but to humanity as well!  And other people tell me too!  Oh, the people!  The people I serve never stop telling me just how much they truly appreciate the great service I am doing for them!  It seems like every third person is telling me that they're lucky that I'm around!  And my coworkers are equally as great, if not a little bit more!  I can tell that they appreciate my personality and my sense of humor, and I know they look forward to when I show up to work! 

You know that I'm a gentleman, but you'll have to pardon me when I let you know that my love life is hot, not to put to fine a point on it!  My love life is running a slight fever!  It's building froth!  It's flying off the shelves!  The people I've dated all think that I'm the best thing that's ever happened to them!  They thought they were unlovable, but then I came along, and if they haven't necessarily felt loved before, now they at least feel highly esteemed! 

I hope I see you sooner than ten months from now, because rest assured, as exciting as my year has been, this next year will probably be more exciting!!!