Many years ago, a close friend of mine had a blog. On his blog, he created a list of things he liked and didn’t like. It was a way for him to re-affirm that he was spending time and energy on the things that mattered, and not allowing the things that didn’t to impede on his life.
Now, a good fifteen years later, I finally understand what he was talking about. Your hobbies, interests, beliefs, and so forth, make up what you are today, but they don’t have to decide who you are tomorrow. It’s healthy to shed your skin every now and again, and it’s important to make sure you aren’t wasting your life chasing old dreams or following things that no longer interest you.
I didn’t realize that we all must make a conscious choice to invest in things or not to. In my mind, once you liked something, you liked it for life. There was no such thing as growing out of something or something serving a purpose. Each hobby or interest was part of your DNA, and you must find time for it.
When I stepped away from this blog, I was done. I needed to scrap everything going on in my life and get down to the bare minimum. I needed a clean slate to begin to rebuild, only using the things that interest me as a thirty-nine-year-old man in 2023, not a twelve-year-old boy in 1995.
Two things prompted this re-evaluation of my life:
- I watched Clerks III. (Spoilers!!!)
It wasn’t until last night that I admitted how much this film had affected me. Randall, once my my anti-hero, now made me cringe. Listening to a fifty-year old talking about The Mandalorian while undergoing a major surgery made me realized how ridiculous fandom and pop culture had become in his life and in my life. I didn’t want to become that. I didn’t want my ridiculous arguments and hot takes on Star Wars, Star Trek, comic books, etc. to define me.
Then Dante dies. The guy, who sadly, I’m probably most like in the entire View Askew Universe. A guy who spent more time complaining about his bad breaks and wasting time on things that did not matter. A guy who felt like the entire world was passing him by. He dies suddenly and unexpectedly and was one of the most real moments of the film. Sometimes there is no sign, life just ends.
- And then a month later, I was diagnosed with liver disease.
Ironically, I don’t drink, so it wasn’t something on my radar of ever happening. It can be a very serious condition if not properly cared for and there has been a month worth of tests to determine the damage already done. It hasn’t been fun, but it helps put things into perspective. Suddenly, wrestling drama, celebrity gossip, shows being removed from HBO Max, politics, and sports scores matter a lot less. In a weird way, I’m thankful to realize that today and not twenty years from now.
I spent my thirty-nineth birthday thinking about how I may be dying of liver cancer. Sure, I made jokes about it being my final birthday and Christmas, but it wasn’t something I had ever considered until those first test results came back. Then, the volume got turned down on everything but trying to figure out how I was going to prolong this exhausted life.