Thursday, January 09, 2003

It's a difficult thing to try and live with ones own decisions. It's a difficult thing to take responsibility for yourself in a world with so many unforseeable and uncontrollable variables. Blink said it best: Well, I guess this is growing up.

When you're little, things are so much more clear cut. The working class values and distinctions I grew up with always seemed right and true. I remember, as a small child, trying to climb a piece of playground equipment clearly designed for kids a fair site older than I was. I failed twice, but the third time I told myself: "I can do anything; I can be anything. Work hard, and anything's possible. I can do this." And I did. I made it up, concentrating oddly enough all the while on Abraham Lincoln teaching himself to write by the fireside, which was a favorite image/story of mine at the time. It seemed that all the doors in the world were open to me.

Life isn't that way. There are real barriers in the world. Working hard isn't enough. The hardest workers in the world do grunt labor. They toil on their farms; they waste away in dead end factories; only by the sweat of his brow does man eat his bread - in any case, that's true of all the men worth knowing. And maybe we deserve that fate because of our sins; I don't know. But hard work does not open every door.

How do we rectify our upbringing with our destiny? How does anyone do it? How are we to rectify tradition with our distaste for stagnation?

When I was very young, I believed the things my parents told me. When I was young still, I rebelled against the things my parents told me, whatever it was they might say. But growing up has meant something different from either path. The lessons of youth were not wasted; I was right to listen to my parents, and I was right to question them too. When you're young, you can't imagine that anyone might know more than you, based purely on the virtue of his age. But when you're older, you shake your head over the follies of youth.

I remember meditating on Jeremiah, who was only an adolescent when God called Him as a prophet, when I was a young teenager. I wanted to have the authority of Jeremiah; I wielded Jeremiah's name like a sword when my age was mocked. While I was conscious at the time, of the fact that Jeremiah's message was ignored by the populace, I considered it apt. Mock my age will you, well, we'll see about that! The lesson I should have paid more attention to was that righteousness has a cost. Nobody likes a know-it-all. Loneliness is the natural accompaniment to wisdom, self-proclaimed or otherwise. Jeremiah the Pariah was every bit as compelling as Jeremiah the Avenged Prophet, and it's a lesson I'm only discovering now.

In totally unrelated news, I'm listening to Norah Jones. She friggin' rocks. I got the cd because of "Don't Know Why" and "Feelin' The Same Way," but there are a lot of other really awesome tracks on there. I'm especially fond of "Seven Years," "Come Away With Me," "Shoot the Moon," and "The Long Day is Over." It's rare that I buy cds anymore, because I don't have the expendable income really. And technically I asked for this one for Christmas. But it's really quite worth the buy.