The more things change, the more they stay the same - there are often distractions on the road to nowhere, and I for one am not immune to the prospect of "ooh, what's that over there?" While I have often been told that I have a focus of formidable proportions, it's not unusual for me to 'go there' just to find out what will happen.
I'm fairly fortunate however, in that I believe that even if I take a wrong turn somewhere, it means nothing to me if I have to swerve, bounce and pogo-stick my way back to where I took the detour, and go back to the path I was on. I've done it several times in my life, especially when life has thrown me a curve when I wasn't paying attention, and got smacked with the reality stick.
Life is trouble when you make it trouble. Everything else is just adventure, and you have to remind yourself every day to avoid the sympathetic, the overly protective and the high-handed opinions of those who haven't found that adventure and do little but worry about perfection. From experience I can say, it doesn't matter how hard you get smacked, it matters that you had the guts to risk it in the first place, and the confidence that you would recover. People will have their opinions, they'll even tell you that you're not listening in order to get you to obey them, they will say the most god-awful things about you to make it seem that you had no right to venture out, no right to have a mind of your own, and no right to believe that you have the right to continue to exist because you didn't impress them.
Easy people to impress when you can say 'ooh shiny things' and they say 'Where?'
No one has ever asked me what my ambitions are, what I want to have flash before my eyes at the end - they have merely assumed that my motivations are precisely the same as their own - which usually involves some kind of material symbolism and social requirement that says 'Not only do I fit in, I am recognized as fitting in.'
It must be nice to belong - but no pioneer ever had a crowd.
I'll admit, I try out the band wagons, check out the flashing lights, watch the world bounce back and forth through history like Wimbledon - Humanity is fascinating. We're the strangest race on the planet, because we have the capacity to think, feel, imagine, touch, taste, smell, see, hear and fuck all at once, and then turn around and say "Keep it simple." Odd bunch.
Yet at the end of the day, there is the quiet moment, when the glitz and glamour have all been put to bed, or in boxes or wherever it is you keep your false eyelashes; there is you. And there is the life that you have lived, and the life you have yet to live. There are the rivers with potholes and the crocs around the corner - there are the dark alleys and the fancy restaurants, the boring exhibitions and the wild afterparties, there are the garage band rehearsals and the backstage jokes with the Duchess of Kent - there is sooooooo much to do. If you take a look at the world that you live in, the aspirations that you have, the ambitions that you lead yourself with - are you living your life, or the life that others would have you live? Is success a social position in the herd, or is it the life that will be a reservoir of memories in the quiet moments? How many lives have you touched, how many worlds have you changed, how much have you been a part of life itself? And how much would you give to have the world at your feet......instead of your feet in the world?
Close your eyes, and pretend that this is your very final moment.....was it all worth it? Have you lived?