8:13 pm - Sat 5.07.2011
A short time ago, I posted this on my Facebook page - "The worst decisions I've made were when I didn't realize I was making a decision at all".
The more I think about it, the more that applies to any number of situations in my life. But the two things I was thinking of in particular when writing that status were the decisions to not learn to drive till I was 27 years old, and to not finish college.
I took Drivers Ed in high school, but didn't pass (Passed the written test given in class, but flunked the driving. I don't know why I flunked - I was clearly smart enough and had the requisite hand-eye coordination - but my current theory points to "performance anxiety" as the culprit).
I didn't re-take the class, because it was boring enough the first time around. Besides, there didn't seem to be much point; no one was going to buy me a car, and I didn't have the money to buy myself a car, so what did it matter?
(I'm guessing, thinking about it now, that anger and embarrassment over failing also played a big part in my basically saying, "Who wants to learn to #@!! drive anyway...?")
So as a result of that decision, I didn't learn to drive till I was 27 (My girlfriend at the time took the bull by the horns and decided I was going to learn - So really, I had the decision made for me; If not for her, I still might not know how to drive).
I'm quite sure I didn't think of myself as "making a decision" not to learn to drive for the next decade or so. I just didn't want to take Drivers Ed again, and didn't have an immediately compelling reason to.
Ditto for college.
Well, not exactly "ditto"; far as I recall, there wasn't a precipitating incident of failure causing me to say "Screw this...!" when it came to graduating college.
But I do think there was a similar component of boredom (Instead of the boredom of repeating Drivers Ed, it was the chore of taking classes I had no interest in, just to fulfill my requirements).
I'd had a similar educational "arc" in high school, doing well in the subjects I was good at/interested in, then losing steam when it all started smelling like work.
And again, like Drivers Ed, I saw no clear reason to graduate - I was starting to get bored, and didn't have much motivation to continue.
There's of course no guarantee my life would have been richer and more rewarding if I'd learned to drive when I was 18, or graduated with an acting degree from Michigan State (Where I'd intended to transfer after a couple years of community college).
But I feel like the two decisions, decisions to quit, had something in common - they were both tremendously short-sighted, sent my psyche the wrong message ("When the going gets tough - for that matter, when you're not sufficiently entertained - quit"), and both served to make my life much smaller than it should have been.
I wish I'd been able to see a bigger picture at that point. I wish I'd been able to see anything but my immediate desire to avoid boredom and frustration.
And I wish I'd had an adult in my life who was invested in me and my future happiness, to tell me I was going to want to know how to drive - if for no other reason than to have better luck picking up girls - and that, if I was serious about acting, it was an ultra-competitive field, and it would be a lot better to have training than not.
Maybe I wouldn't have listened...but at least I would have had the information.
But I didn't see a bigger picture. And there was no wise, compassionate adult offering counsel.
And I had no idea I was making potentially life-altering decisions - I just thought I was bailing on things that "weren't working out".
Impossible to know what might have happened...but hard to shake a sense of regret, and feelings of loss, for the better life "that might have been" if I'd made some different decisions.
Sun 5/8/11 (6:43 pm)
On Facebook, a lot of people were switching their status photos with pictures of their mother, in honor of the day.
Since I don't have a picture of my mother, I thought I'd post a "?" instead. But the "?" image I downloaded online was too small, and I was too lazy to hunt for another one, and I lost interest in the project.
I then posted that little story as my FB status, with an additional comment that I asked my mother for a picture once (Last year, I think, or maybe it was the year before).
And my mother told me she didn't have any.
I didn't leave that post up very long, posting instead about my good fortune in having Mrs DeHaven in my life (My foster mother from the time I was a year old till I was nine).
It seemed more appropriate than a self-pitying, "Poor me, I didn't have a Mother post". The people who actually know me on Facebook know my situation, and the people who don't don't likely care.
And besides, it's not true - I did have a Mother.
Her name was Lydia DeHaven.
I don't know why I didn't write this past week, because there were certainly things to write about.
The Prince concert I saw a week ago yesterday was great fun.
I wish I hadn't taken the warnings about not taking pictures so seriously - I actually went back and left my cell phone in the car (Because a Forum employee said we had to either do that, or check our phones at Guest Services) - because it didn't leave me with anything to do while I waited for the show to start, besides watch people file in, and look at the 80's era videos that were being projected on the big screens.
(There were some vintage videos of great performers - The Staples Singers, Patti LaBelle, and Tina Turner - but it was mostly cheesy, extremely dated videos starring what I assume were various Prince "proteges", most of whom I didn't recognize.)
Since I didn't have my phone, I don't know what time the actual show started (I'm sure it didn't start right on time, at 7:30, but it didn't feel ridiculously late either), but there was no "opening act", and when I got in my car to leave at evening's end, it was just after midnight., so I definitely felt like I'd gotten my $25 worth.
Speaking of which, you'd think that with such a cheap ticket, I'd have gotten the crappiest of crappy seats, but not really - I was in the back row of the middle section.
It was mostly a middle-aged, largely African-American crowd, many of whom has brought their kids (It amused me to think that the passage of time had turned Prince from something scandalous to "family entertainment").
As I watched the show, I couldn't help but think about what a rush it must be, to have thousands of people hanging on your every word and move.
But then I wondered if that was actually still the case for the man himself - He's been doing this stuff for most of his life at this point, so I wondered, "Does he still get juiced by this, or at this point is it 'just a job'?".
As a "performer", it's an interesting question, but as an audience member, it didn't really matter - Prince is a showman, a consummate pro, and whether he was really "feeling it" or going through the carefully choreographed motions, he had the audience in the palm of his hand the entire night.
So I was glad I went...which I'll hopefully remember the next time I resist doing something outside my "comfort zone".
Well, what happened last Sunday night wasn't just interesting - It was downright historic.
I found out the news of Bin Laden's death when I logged onto Facebook and saw all the celebratory status updates.
I turned on the tv, listening to the anchors fill time till the President addressed the nation.
Then President Obama came on, and verified the news - Osama Bin Laden had been killed in an attack by a US strike force.
My first reaction to the news was surprise; like a lot of people, I'd come to believe Bin Laden was never going to be caught, that he'd die of illness or old age, and we'd likely never know about it.
And the idea that this guy could orchestrate the murder of thousands of Americans, taunt us about it, threaten to do it again, and never be caught? Well, I may have seen too many movies, watched too much tv, and read too many comic books, but that was not an acceptable end to the story.
It just wasn't right.
So on Sunday, for a moment, the world seemed a little "right-er" to me - The bad guy got caught (finally) and got what he deserved.
I was happy about it, definitely - Especially since I've wrestled with the world seeming "out of whack" to me for years now - but probably like a lot of basically good people, felt a little guilty about that happiness (Thanks in part to a lot of people on Facebook telling me I should be ashamed of myself for celebrating the death of any person).
And I guess that is where I draw my line, at "celebrating"; while you'd have a hard time arguing me out of a sense of satisfaction that Bin Laden finally got the bullet in the head he earned on 9/11, a feeling that a terrible wrong was made right (Or at least as "right" as is possible),"celebrating" does seem like overkill (Pardon the pun).
It's just unseemly.
Well, it's gotten late, and I'm tired, and I think this entry is probably too long anyway (And the last thing I wanted to write about could be an entry in itself), so I'm going to call it a night.
0 comments so far