Friday night Carey and I watched The Big Chill; a movie released in 1983 about a group of friends meeting years earlier at The University of Michigan reuniting for the funeral of a friend that committed suicide. They were all comparing life progressions when spending the weekend together following the funeral. The minority were happy and fulfilled. There was a marriage that looked good, but dead on the vine. A divorced successful friend, but success had not brought happiness. Friends still searching, a friend jaded by life and of course Alex who cashed in his chips. An accurate microcosm of society?
When the movie was released I was 22 and bursting at the seams with potential. I had a year remaining at Georgia due to a lack of self-discipline. I took that summer quarter off, but remained in Athens where I worked hard and played very hard. I was over the college scene and ready to get on with life. I saw The Big Chill in the fall of ’83. Too naive to pick up on the fact that life is a minefield and it’s difficult to come out on the other side happy and fulfilled, I was rambunctious in the starting paddock anxious to get going. I was young and foolish thinking I just needed wealth to buy my dreams. I went into the field that I thought could get me there the fastest, a stock broker. Determination and drive made me successful, soon things were falling in place and I was making absurd amounts of money for a twenty something year old kid from the south side of Atlanta.
The first warning sign I was sort of picking up on was the money did not make me happy, the stress of the money chase required hours of unwinding and drinking. The market crash of October ’87 brought me to my knees and senses. I realized during hours of soul searching this is about the journey not a destination. I started making plans to open an Alaskan fishing guide service then a few months later an ALS diagnosis. Damn it!
Obviously, I’m not where I thought I would be, but I kept the journey perspective as a goal and that made this seated journey worthwhile. At any age post high school, asking yourself am I where I want to be is a healthy exercise; especially when single, not burdened with responsibilities and have the ability to make changes without hurting others is the ideal time to ask repeatedly. But, it’s never too late for an honest self-assessment.
I have never taken life or time for granted, but I regret not realizing until the last several years how quickly a lifetime passes, a blink. Thanks for reading. Have a great day! dj