Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I could have been somebody...

"You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am..."
--Marlon Brandon in On the Waterfront
At what point in your life do you start having those "I coulda been somebody" moments? I know I started having them in my early 20s as I switched majors five or six times and settled on Journalism. Then I had them as I meandered through a career that didn't really have much to do with Journalism. At the same time I had them about my attempts at getting published. I continue to have those moments every now and then as I crest the hill of middle age.

Youth has this nasty habit of slipping away in a cowardly fashion. There is only so long you can kid yourself that aging is only happening to everyone else around you. It is that damned mirror that shatters the delusion.

But, I console myself with the Zen-like response that rather than dwell on who or what I could of been, I should accept who I am and strive for who I want to be.

It sounds good anyway.

Sometimes, when I rail on about never having carved a niche of fame for myself that would mean I left my mark on the world, I remind myself that even the famous are only famous for a moment. Especially in this digital age where ADD is the norm, things don't even remain in the public eye the standard 15 minutes prescribed by Andy Warhol.

Time makes even somebodies into nobodies. I imagine that someday even (forgive me for saying this) Elvis will be forgotten. Monuments crumble, pages of words turn to dust, and names of the faces in photographs are forgotten long before the photographs themselves fade away. So it is ironic that we are obsessed with being remembered.

At this point in my life I am content that the most important thing that I have accomplished and will leave behind me is my children.

So I guess I am a somebody after all.

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