I ventured down an Internet rabbit hole this morning; I spent a couple of hours there. It happens from time to time – one link leads to another and that one leads to another… and another, and another. This time, however, I was venturing into not only places I’d been before, they were actually places I created and I created them out of the cyber version of thin air. Furthermore, this particular rabbit hole is old, by Internet standards, dating from late 2005 and early 2006. The venture also took my into my own local archives to things I created more than a decade ago. Some are more recent, they have been updated and revisited, but all of their roots go back to around 15 years ago. That rabbit hole was a blog, my blog, called The 25 Year Plan and it was one of my first entries there in January 2006 that got me started. Full disclosure and as much as I hate to admit it, Facebook’s “Memories” app took me there.
I wrote the post referenced on Facebook on this day 10 years ago. All I linked was the URL for my blog, so, curious, I looked it up; it was titled, “Awakening.” That post linked one I wrote in January 2006 titled, “Five Years.” And that led to the rest of January, February, March and part of April, 2006.” I got sucked into my own blog, the vast majority of which was my own writing and, of course, it had to be my most prolific year, posting some 158 separate entries and actively participating in the conversation resulting from them in the comments section. I had, it seems, something to say about everything… and a lot of it was good.
But certainly not all of it. I am absolutely embarrassed by some of the pabulum I wrote. Delete it? No way. It is part of the journey, part of what I had to do – and reflect upon years later – to understand who I am and what is and is not important. And even things that fall into the “is not” category have some value even if that value cannot be counted amongst the beautiful. Life, as art, is indeed a journey and sometimes the saccharin, sometimes the juvenile, sometimes in inane must be counted in with the profound, the beautiful and the important. Art, maybe, cannot be art without the anti-art.
My dad once suggested that I compile my blog and turn it into a book. He thought (some of it) was/is that good. I don’t believe he was blowing smoke up my ass as parents are wont to do, I believe he meant it, but I believed it because by that time I also believed it. By that time I knew I could write and I knew I could write well; I had embraced this talent I didn’t really want (I wanted a different one), and I knew I had a voice and something to say. I even started to compile and edit these first of my posts to make them more “bookish” rather than just a collection of essays. That initial attempt is still languishing in my electronic files along with two other unfinished books. These three books, one novel, one memoir and the “Book of the Blog” are all projects I intend to finish. That does not mean they ever will be, but the potential is there. I have tangible beginnings to all three.
In the beginning of this now 15 year adventure into life, I was, in a very literal sense, beginning anew. I spent too many of my years existing, blowing where life took me, without any real intention at all. For reasons that are not important now, in the beginning there were some key elements of my life I kept hidden. In the last few years, those elements are no longer “secret,” though there are some forums where I would not volunteer it, mostly because it would not be pertinent; it would not be something that would just “come up.” The key to those key elements was the fact that I was coming out of all the insanity that comes with active drug addiction. At the end, a lot of really big shit went down really fast and it damned near killed me. In fact, That’s what “Five Years” was about, though I left out the drugs part of it. However, in that story and many I have written since, those who knew where I’d been, knew.
Today I have 14 years, five months, four weeks and one day free from any mind or mood altering substances. This is my second attempt. My first began in March of 2003. I made it about nine months before thinking I was cured and tried to use drugs “recreationally” again. The truth is I never used drugs – or alcohol – recreationally. However, that was the beginning of the beginning and after running into the same old bullshit I had escaped for nine months, I went back to jail on August 6th, 2004, the end of the beginning. I almost died in a wreck on October 17th, 2000 (the topic of “Five Years”) – the beginning of the end. Ever since August of 2004, I have been actively living my life.
I can easily point to the benefits – these very words are an example. The bigger part of the picture is not how much better my life is, but in how I not only don’t take from others and society in general, I actually contribute – and paying my taxes is only a small part of that. Even after living the life I have these past many years, it is not lost on me how close I came to the end and, even surviving that, how much different it good have been. One more act of defiance, one more self-centered decision, one more lapse of judgement could have changed everything for not only me, but for too many others, too. For the past many I years I have been living my life with intention. It makes all the difference.