The brevity of it allI have a horse named Zip and I think I need to change the name because every time I hear it, it reminds me of how fast my life is “zipping” by. Or maybe it’s just me. Perhaps I’ve hit a phase in life and don’t realize that everyone else is letting their life run away from them too, so what’s the big deal?
By: Kevin Holten, The Dickinson Press
I have a horse named Zip and I think I need to change the name because every time I hear it, it reminds me of how fast my life is “zipping” by.
Or maybe it’s just me. Perhaps I’ve hit a phase in life and don’t realize that everyone else is letting their life run away from them too, so what’s the big deal?
The big deal is that I only get one shot at it and if I’m going to let it slip through my grasp I’m making a critical mistake on par with Custer’s not-so-brilliant attack on that Indian village, Nixon’s little taping experiment in the White House, and Osama bin Laden’s choice of lodging in Pakistan.
Then again, maybe my memory is just too good because I can still remember my first day of first grade like it was yesterday and therefore it seems like yesterday. I think I even know what I was wearing that day, you know, one of those beanies with a propeller on top. Just kidding.
When I lived in Long Beach, Calif. they’d hold the Long Beach Grand Prix on city streets each year and attract thousands of racing fans, groupies, motor heads, beer guzzlers and street sleepers and set up temporary bleachers here, there and everywhere.
You could buy a ticket, sit with a puzzled look on your face, sip a beer and watch really loud Formula 1 race cars blur by, one every few seconds and wonder what the number was on that car and why did I buy this ticket? Little did I know, my life would zoom by just as speedily.
In the meantime, they say that when it comes to writing, speaking and speech giving, brevity is considered a really good thing. Even former President Woodrow Wilson once said, “If I am to speak 10 minutes, I need a week for preparation; if 15 minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.”
Maybe we should also apply that brevity theory to our own lives? Because what ole Woody was really saying is that packing more punch into less time takes more work and planning.
Which is really interesting especially when you think you’re getting more out of life by stuffing more into every minute of your day; when in reality it mean’s taking a deep breath, slowing things down, working more intelligently and not making 30 wrong turns on 50 highways.
Unfortunately, I’m already up to 80 wrong turns on 30 highways but there’s always time for at least some correction. The problem is the world just won’t stop while I try to get it right. It just keeps rotating under my feet and I know that I’ve written about this before and might be boring you to death but bear with me because this isn’t actually a column, it’s therapy.
I think it really comes down to what your purpose is in life and how close you are to achieving it and that’s the problem. I don’t know my purpose in life and how close I am to achieving it.
Dr. Wayne Dyer, the internationally known author and speaker once said that when you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor, it’s to enjoy each step along the way. The fact is, I’ve enjoyed every step a little too much and now I’m thinking I have missed all of the clues as to what my purpose is supposed to be. If having fun is my purpose I achieved that two decades ago.
I guess I could go to a bookstore and find a bushel of books on how to find your purpose in life. But every time I almost do so I think about something comedian George Carlin once told. He said that he once went into a bookstore and asked a saleswoman, “Where’s the self-help section?” She said if she told him, it would defeat the purpose. So I don’t go.
In a few weeks we could be catching snowflakes with our eyelashes, scraping thick ice off of windshields, staging snow shoveling parties on every block and looking for a good warm corner to mostly hibernate in until spring.
I remember when I first moved back here from California after 2000 years, I actually wondered if I would survive and then we had three straight winters of hell, only a whole lot colder.
Of course I did survive but I realized that when you live in California where they have no real seasons, your body doesn’t have to adjust quite as dramatically each year and it never really learns that it is a year older. Sure, you can tell it that it is but why does it have to believe you since, weather wise, each day is nearly the same. So it lives its life thinking that a year is more equivalent to a decade than a mere 12 months. The result is that I am now aging four times faster than I did in California.
At any rate, everyone seems to want to write children’s books as if that’s the ultimate purpose in life. Well, as comedian Steven Wright once said, “I’ve already written a few children’s books. Just not on purpose.”
Holten is a freelance columnist and cartoonist from Dickinson.