(Oh look! ANOTHER rare picture of JD Salinger!)
I don't know why I have such a sudden feeling of urgency. I'm usually unimpressed by chronology. Finality never bothered me. There's always that sense that we're doing this too late, but I know enough to know that that impression is just self-imposed; there are no rules for this. I know that.
Every day something gets worked on. Absolutely has to be done. A day doesn't go by without something being done. It's as solid as a job should be, though right now it's paying nothing. It's compulsion now. In all honesty I've never felt the need to get it done like I do now. I don't know why. Feeling the clock is a foreign thing to me. Time has never been as issue. It's all in your head. I never went there before. Never surrendered to it.
Now it worries me. Yet there's another way to look at it. Maybe for once that's just what is needed. I've always just sauntered through life. I slacked off on everything. I never surrendered to intense motivation. I breezed through it all. I always took the easy route. Held the prize with a loose grip. Gave myself excuses. Constructed hierarchies wherein second rate was somehow okay. Never really pushed myself. Never went for the prize. I never did. I was always relaxed about it. And probably the lazy route was a mechanism I used to justify my non-realization. Philosophically "life's too short", "smell the roses", yadda and so forth. A ready-made alternative to actual achievement.
I know what some people are thinking. They're humoring me. Bob isn't happy unless he thinks he's doing something like that. We let him believe it. We all know it isn't real. We all know he'll never make it happen. Look how long it's taken already. He's not really that good at it, when you come right down to it. We let him think it's okay. When it comes to the real thing, Bob just doesn't know how to get there. He never will. But he's not a bad person, so we let him dream. It may be he's wasting his life, but what can you say to him? We love him. But he's always been unrealistic.
I admit it - if you hear this long enough it starts making itself come true.
You don't want to be "that guy." You know the one. Everybody around you has worked on making a viable, understandable career in their life. At this age we're supposed to be at the top of our game. Groundwork done, we're supposed to be established. Experts in our field. At the height of our earning power. Vacations, gifts, tassels on your shoes. You're not supposed to be that guy who still has this unnamed and esoteric dream hanging over your head. You should be grounded in reality by now. You shouldn't be the guy who shows up to the party a little behind the crowd, still with your head in the clouds looking for a break. It sucks to be that guy.
So is this the quiet desperation they were talking about in the famous quote, whatever it was? Or is it that finally, belatedly, at long last - I get it. It's dawned on me. All the pieces I fiddled with are on the table and all I have to do is put them together. You see how it's supposed to work. You understand the components. The urgency maybe isn't about the chronology as much as it is the fleeting vision you're trying to catch that suddenly is right there. For once you see it, whether other people think you're just hopelessly dreaming again or not.
I don't care if nobody but me thinks it can happen. It doesn't matter. I've supported everyone in all the things they wanted to do. That's always been the important thing. And no one is sitting there saying I can't try. I'm a good supporter when people strive to accomplish something. I'm a fantastic cheerleader. I don't get jealous of other people's success. I'm always the one telling them how fantastic they've done.
My parents weren't from a very demonstrative generation. Most of my achievements were mysteries like that song Chrissie Hynde sang. Why should this be any different now.