Subscriber Only: Why Look Back When There's So Much Ahead?
On September 21st, 1967, just past the sunset side of noon, a massive flash enveloped Yucca Flats in central Nevada courtesy of Marvel, a 5-kiloton device detonated as part of a series of U.S. nuclear tests codenamed Operation Crosstie.
Not to be outdone, the next day, September 22nd, the Soviet Union unleashed a 10-kiloton beast south of the Irtysh River in the low-range pine forests of Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.
Depending on your point of view, sensing a disturbance in the fabric of creation, one of those gods we’ve read so much about, Mother Nature, and/or the wide, yawning infinity of the cosmos, decided to act and bring forth a benevolent force with which to restore equilibrium to humanity.
And thus, at 1:13 pm Pacific Standard Time on September 23rd, 1967, the small seaside hamlet of Newport Beach, California was blessed with one Brian Christopher Lund.
Not long thereafter, Kronos, the destructive, all-devouring god of time crept into my bassinet, and like a thief in the night, robbed me of five and a half decades.
Which is to say, today is my 55th birthday.
I’m celebrating it per tradition; with strippers, blow, and booze.
[Editor’s note: Strippers = family, blow = Korean BBQ, and booze = in bed before 10:00pm.]
It’s at this point that you might expect this piece to devolve into one of the favored tropes of those who wish us to confuse their need for attention with their depth of introspection.
You’ve heard it all before.
And with that, I realized that I’ve seen more dawns and sunsets than I’m going to see.
If I could talk to my XX-year-old self, here’s what I’d say.
Can’t my goddamn neighbor hear his dog barking, again?
Sorry, my goddamn neighbor’s dog was barking again.
But truth be told, I’m good with where I’m at.
I’m reasonably happy, healthy – people regularly mistake me for early 40s’, hat on, late 40s’, hat off – and I’ve got the benefit of wisdom well-earned,
Besides, I can’t stomach that maudlin view of the past which carries with it the implication that we should have known better, recognized opportunities in real-time, and lived in some form of perfected state - even though we still fuck shit up daily.
The past exists to learn from, not dwell upon.
If the data is clean and the actuaries true, my life expectancy is 77 years, which means I have 29% of my life left to live – with a caveat.
Along with the great weather, natural wonders, and an ethnic amalgamate that delivers cuisine, culture, and artistry that’s the envy of the world, California - and my residency within it - adds another four years to my longevity.
If my lust for life extends past 81, a move to Hawaii brings with it an extra six months, and in an act that any trader will instantly recognize as “optimization,” transitioning in the ‘Aloha State’ will get me to the ripe old age of 84.3 years.
Still, that leaves me with only 35% left, at best.
But here’s the thing.
How many sunsets have you really seen?
For me, it’s less than a half-dozen. And when it comes to sunrises, well, as English soccer hooligans say, that number is “nil.”
The truth is, like opportunities, there are more daybreaks and nightfalls ahead than behind – all you have to do is decide to partake in them.
And spare me the retrospective wisdom imparted to the long-dead self.
Eighteen, thirty-five, and fifty-year-old Brian’s bones have turned to dust, mind to mush, and his ears are permanently muffled to the advice of an old man.
Instead, I prefer to extend myself into the future, for divination of what the 75-year-old me would say to the me of today.
I think he’d say I’ve got it pretty good.
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