Thursday, February 21, 2013

Epitaph First Draft

Will I be remembered fondly?

I erect a grand scheme of God-like perfection when I come to judge myself.  I want to cure ills, make friends of my enemies.  I want to heal the sick and feed the hungry.  I want to find a way so that even the devil and the Lord Almighty can reach across the chasm and shake hands.  Then wrap it up in a lovely box and put a shimmering bow on top.

I've got such expectations.  Are they hard-wired?  Or have they grown in me, over time, like my waistline?

I've always aimed high, or at least I was led to believe I was aiming high.  I placed high on my IQ test at an early age, and so it seemed that there were to be great things to come in my life.  I continued to excel academically through high school, and landed a favorable financial aid package to go to my first choice in colleges.

But I'd also kind of developed the idea that I'd "figured it out" by the time I was to leave high school.  Maybe I didn't have the love of my life that I wanted, but I thought I had already met her.  I had a close knit group of friends that had a blast spending time together the summer after we graduated high school.  I'd worked hard to reinvent myself and "make it" socially, after my friends had unceremoniously dumped me just before the start of my sophomore year.  I think I've written about this before, but I'm not remembering when or where.  Was it my pencil scribbled journal, complete with doodles and extremely hard to read when I would get excited about a particular subject?  Or is it here, in the bloggerverse?  Something I'll have to look into further, no doubt.

But for now, I need to summarize.  I thought, since I had succeeded so famously in high school, that my hardest challenges were behind me.  I had made it to adulthood without killing myself or anybody else.  I had it figured out.  I was enjoying myself, and that was what was important.  I had plenty time to grow old and die-- that would come much later.  Like when I was in my forties.

Well, welcome to your forties, buddy.  You've had your shit stirred with a splintering stick and it's gotten kinda messy, wouldn't you say?  Maybe you did have a few more things to learn...

Like how to set goals to exceed expectations, only by making a bunch of small attainable goals that add up to something special.  I tended to try and do just enough to get by.  And I didn't get by.  But that's my cross to bear.  I've had lots of chances, maybe more than most.  And I've made the best of them that I could.

Like being no credits short of a B.A. degree, and yet not having said B.A. degree.  Like needing a "C" and receiving a "D".  And yet, finding my way and building my resume without telling that story.  But each time I list my education on a job application, there I go again.  Most of my friends from college have a degree, perhaps even framed and hanging on the wall in the den of their home.  Me, I didn't even get to keep the empty folder with the note saying I hadn't satisfied all of my major requirements.

It's a hard pill to swallow, that kind of failure.  But I've made the best of it.  I'm finding my way, the path for my steps alone.  Sometimes it's a lonely road.

So what will the epitaph say?  "Didn't satisfy major requirements?"

Needs work.

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