My Jesus year is done. This is not an official name for some random year, so don’t go googling it.
But until a few days ago, I was thirty-three years old. If we are to believe the Bible, well, Jesus had done pretty much all of his earthly stuff including dying and then undying. I am done with the year though.
This has some bearing on my life. It means that I am unlikely to become the focus of my own religion. It means that as much as I would like to believe it, I, like Brian, am not the Messiah. And there are a host of things that I will not be doing in my life. I realise that now. I’m unlikely to ever run a marathon. (Pause for derisive laughter here.) That rock band that I joined in school? We’re never going to make an album. Hell, given how far away from one another we are now… we’re unlikely to ever play together again. I’m probably never going to go sky-diving. I am most likely never going to own the car of my dreams.
And here’s the funny thing. You’d expect them to grate, to weigh down on me, these unfulfilled aspirations. But they don’t. Instead, I find myself free of them. I am never going to front a band, I am never going to trade riffs with Slash or stand clad mainly in leather in front of an audience dancing to my music. Nobody is going to sing along to my songs, quote my lyrics on their Facebook page or get my band symbol tattooed on their shoulder. Sixteen year old Yeti would be crushed by this realisation. But thirty-four year old Yeti is happy. If I am never going to be a famous musician, then I can stop pushing myself to learn the guitar, stop feeling guilty when a week goes by without me playing the thing. I can chill, learn the songs I want to sing along to, surprise my wife by playing some Leonard Cohen for her. (At the very least, I sing better than he ever did.) Guitar playing becomes a fun activity, something I do for joy, guilt-free.
The same goes for my chances of ever playing sport at a national level. Much as I enjoy thrashing friends at table-tennis, there is no chance of ever playing seriously. Golf? I can safely leave that to the executives and the pro’s. Who cares if I shift my feet in my swing? Who cares that I’m holding the clubs incorrectly, or using the wrong one? Who cares that every now and then I still take a run-up when nobody is watching? I played hockey as a kid. Taking a step or two before the swing just feels good. And that’s what I am getting at. We carry so much baggage. We shoulder so much guilt as a function of our everyday routine. And why?
Let. It. Go.
You’re never going to be a model. Eat the Snickers bar. You’re unlikely to become anyone important politically. Tell the jokes you want to tell. Your photos are never going to win a Pulitzer. Relax and enjoy the view for yourself.
You get what I am saying?
We all do it. Everyone I know has a chip of varying sizes on their shoulder. Some unrequited dream that plagues them, that tints every moment of every day with a disappointed shadow. We get those chips from a range of places. Parental expectation, peer pressure, the media. It is their responsibility, their FAULT for pushing us in directions. But that is what parents do. It is what friends do. And it is all that the media ever does. It is YOUR responsibility for collecting the chips. For carrying them for years. For allowing them to colour your every action.
Maybe it’s laughable coming from someone barely old enough for a mid-life crisis. Maybe I am wrong. I don’t think so though. This year is my year. Succeed or fail, this is the year that I drop my pretensions of lofty ideals. This is the year that I slough the little dreams that I have clung to for years. Dreams that honestly, I am not really even interested in any more. I don’t want to have a glamorous jet set life. I don’t want a fancy mansion. I don’t need a collection of vintage guitars. I have no intention of climbing a mountain, ANY mountain. I’m not going to join Green Peace. I think that PETA is often too extreme. I’m never going to be a religious person, I have no inclination to continue studying religions. I don’t intend ever getting myself an office job again. I never want to wear a tie again.
What I have been doing is looking at my life, and evaluating each of my dreams and hopes on their own merits. There are many that I am no longer really interested in. There are others that are beyond me simply because of my age, location or abilities. There are some that are possible, that can be done, but that clash with the life that lead. I’d love to race cars. With a wife that I intend getting old with, this is not going to happen. You see how it works? There are some goals that I do not intend to compromise on. These are the goals that are still attainable, still possible, albeit with a ton of work and sacrifice. And I think that it is the job of every human being to find those core goals, and then to get them done.
I want to be an author. I would love at some point in the future to be able to fill in “author” in that little square on the tax-return. I want to be self-employed. Until that happens, I want to teach. I enjoy teaching. I’m good at it. And it is the only job that I have found where every day IS different, where every single class brings with it challenges and difficulties uniquely its own. I will own a Porsche. Nothing fancy. I just want the car, I want to drive with the top down, and listen to a flat six growl through a mountain pass. I want to see Europe. I want to walk in the Black Forest, and uncover Roman mosaics. I want to see the Sewer systems of London. I want to walk on the abandoned platforms of the Underground. I want to see Moscow. I want to see the Northern Lights. I want to fly a plane. I want a Doctorate in something, but I’ll settle for my Masters.
These are my goals. These are the things to which I am going to work. And yes, it is going to require some sacrifice, and some planning, and most of all… a lot of luck.
But I have my friends, and I have my family. I have time. I believe I have the talent.
I have no excuse for failure.
And neither do you. Drop your baggage. Embrace yourself, your own goals and hopes. And make it happen for yourself.