Sunday, July 25, 2010


A 62 year-old enigmatic stranger I recently met-- who owns a very successful Space engineering company in Sacramento-- told me that he regrets not doing a lot of things in his life...things that he is now simply "too old" to do. When I ever-so-foolishly exclaimed that he was never too old to do anything, he replied that he wished he had gotten married and had children (-_- ...I'm a real-good people person).

Wishing away his youth with years full of deep vexation and a perpetual (overly-obsessive?) aspiration to reach every career-related goal, this stranger recalled all of the grave instances in his successful life where he simply risked it all to reach his full potential. And reach his full potential he did...but at the price of being truly happy.

Thirty-some years later this introverted and lonely gentleman finds himself having a random and depressing conversation with a loquacious stranger, where he so willingly poured his heart out about his deepest regrets and about his resentment for not having pursued the finer, the human, non-temporal things in life.

...He warned me about the things that would come. He recited a series of statements I should live by, statements that didn't sound so cliche at the time:

1) Life happens (aka shit happens)
2) You can choose your friends but you cannot choose your relatives
3) There are only 3 stressful things you will encounter in your life: moving, divorce, and death in the family (I facetiously added "taxes" after he finished, but to my dismay, he did not find my comment amusing).

My 30+ minute conversation with this stranger had a curious effect on my perception of life. Life is so fickle- we are the actors...the trapeze artists trying to become experts at our own tight-rope balancing act...tip-toeing ballerinas, bloodied nails, stunted toes, paralyzed from the soul down? We wish away our lives by looking forward to that one vacation, that one event, that one opportunity (" seize everything you ever wanted-one moment"); but when we surpass that opportunity and that experience and when we have finally captured that moment, we will most likely look back at our youth in wonderment, or look back at it like that 62-year-old stranger: in regret and resentment- wishing that our magical life wasn't spent in waste, in wishing away our years...our youth, wishing that we did not in fact lose sight of our potential to be truly, unremittingly happy...

1 comment:

George said...

I really enjoyed this. Nicely articulated.