Monday, October 6, 2008

My friend calls me a Gypsy but I disagree

Late Sunday night, after work, I was on my laptop. Checking e-mail and checking some other things. I signed on to a messenger to see if a friend of mine who is usually on late at night was on. I hadn't talked to him in almost a month and his cell is currently off. He wasn't on his messenger, so I sent him an e-mail. I couldn't believe I hadn't talked to him in almost a month. It's weird how time passes by so quickly. I feel like I just turned 23 and yet my birthday was in June. It's fucking October already. Where the hell did the summer go?

One of the things I wonder about most is not living life.
I like to do what I want. Sometimes it's reckless, dangerous and flat out stupid. I have fun though. Sometimes it's nothing of interest to anyone but me. Sometimes to people around me too. I enjoy life and I have encountered a lot of weird, interesting and unbelievable things. I get into weird situations, happen upon different things, experiment with a variety of things and have a healthy curiosity in... well, almost anything. Which is cool, for me. I want to see the world. I've met a lot of people. Some I remember and suspect I'll never forget in some ways.

My friend did sign on shortly after the e-mail I sent him. We got to talking and I ended up staying up way later that I had intended to. He was telling me about how he met a new girl recently who had really turned his world upside down. In a good way. He told me about some of the changes he's started that's really made a difference for him. I won't detail those things out because that's private, his stuff, not mine to tell. For the first time in the last few years though, he's happy as hell. It was like talking to a different person almost.

In him talking about her opening his eyes to new things, it got me thinking. I remembered talking to a man that opened mine and one of my friends eyes up to living life versus just existing in life.

When I was 18, I was downtown hanging out between clubs with some friends. We met this homeless guy hanging out between a pub and a tattoo parlor. This guy was trying to get money out of people. Just for food. We were sitting outside close by him trying to figure out if we were going to go to a party at one person's house or if we were going to head to a bon fire at the beach. We were sitting there, talking on laughing and the homeless man made his way a little closer to us. I remember he asked if we had some change to spare. One of my friend's asked what he wanted it for. He said food. There was a Whattaburger in the beginning of downtown. Easily a 10 minute walk from where we were sitting. She told the homeless guy we were going to go walk over there and bring him a burger and to wait right there. So, we walked over, got some stuff to eat and drink for ourselves and my friend grabbed a burger and a drink for the homeless guy too. She gave it to him and we went back to sitting on the bench and curb, eating and drinking. The homeless guy moved away from us and ate his food. He ended up coming back over and thanking us. Then he started talking. Saying he used to be a police officer. Saying he was married but then his wife and daughter died in an auto accident. Said he got depressed after that and never snapped out of it. He stopped caring about himself once they were gone. Ended up losing his job. Losing his house. Losing everything. He said he tried a few times but never cared enough to get his life back on track. So, that was how he got to where he was now. Being homeless. Scrounging dumpsters and taking hand outs where he could get them. He said some times he didn't eat for days and he just didn't care. He said life seemed non-essential once he lost his wife and daughter. He said he'd tried to commit suicide several times but could never go through with it. He didn't care enough to truly live any longer but he didn't want to die. I remember my friend asking him if he felt like he was dead inside already. He just laughed at my friend. I remember asking him how long he'd been homeless. He said only for four years. He said it felt like an eternity.
This was 5 years ago and I still remember this guy and most of the stuff we all asked him and that he talked about. A lot of what he said didn't make sense. He rambled a lot and looked like he wasn't all there. I always wondered about the guy. I still wonder about that guy once in a while. I wonder if he ever snapped out of it and started caring to try and live again. I wonder about if he ever finally had it in him to go through with one of his suicidal thoughts. I wonder if he moved on to somewhere else, floating along and surviving in such a minimal way. If he was still in that area, scrounging and sleeping at benches, asking for change to go buy food. If he turned in to someone who found solice in liquor or some kind of drug. I'll never know what happened to that guy but I think I'll always wonder about him.

I remember that at 18, shortly after the encounter with that man, a friend of mine and I were talking about him again. My friend was asking me if I believed the man or if I thought he was just out for sympathy. I doubted it was anything like that. He didn't try to get another thing out of us. He just wanted to talk is what it seemed like. My friend and I talked more about the man and the situation. What ifs. Various scenarios. How we think we might handle such a tragedy. We talked for a while about the man and at the end of it, we both decided that we were never going to just exist in life. We decided that no matter what, as long as we were alive, we were going to live. I think one of the worst things to do is just coast through life, not really living it. Not enjoying it. Not trying new things or even doing things you love. To me anyway, that's an awful way to live. I'm not criticizing anyone and saying the way you live is wrong. It's your life, live it whatever way you want, however you want.

I know it drives certain people crazy that I don't have a real set and defined plan for my life. It bothers me some times too because I think I need a career, I need to get moving, I need to do this and I need to do that. It's what people do. That's the way it goes. Blah blah blah. This gets these people tagging me as lazy, indecisive and a slacker. None of those things are true. Some people misunderstand me. Partly, that's my fault because I keep so much of who and what I am closed off from so many that they don't know much about me or they only know a different version of me. Someone I'm not anymore. That would be my fault in part for not letting them see what's really here. Partly their fault for not trying to know either.

The thing is, getting a nice career with a nice salary isn't that important to me. I always work. In some way. I always find ways to make money and make things work out and do it legally too, lol. I know that soon, once I get other things taken care of, I'm going to commit to school. I'll get it done and I'll have my career in X amount of years. I'll be doing this, that and the other thing a few years later than other people. I'll be the older one there. To some, it will be because they think I slacked off and fucked around. I don't see it that way and don't think I ever will. I don't see a point in rushing it. I don't see a point in stressing myself out trying to do too much at once. I don't care to follow the standard that most people go by. I want my life in my own time, so to speak.
I don't want to spend my life stressed and unhappy half of the time because I hate my job and hate my life. The only life I am going to know is the one I'm living now. I don't want to look back on it when I'm old and see nothing but stress, turmoil and more bad times than good.

You can call me idealistic. Call me stupid. Irrational. Full of shit. Naive. Call me whatever you want. I probably won't care, no matter who you are. You're entitled to your opinion just as much as Joe Six Pack is, lol. I know that to me, I am none of those things. To some, I come across that way and see that way. That's fine too. People are subjective and perception is a funny little thing.

All I truly want out of life is to be happy and to enjoy the time that I'm here. You can't escape the bad times and everyone has to grow up. You have to have the bad in life, it balances things out. Stress and hardship help you learn and grown. Or it doesn't and you end up stuck in a bad place for too long. The bad is inevitable and I believe it's necessary too.
It doesn't mean you have to stop living and stop enjoying life though. Life goes by too damn fast for you to spend the majority of your time stressed and unhappy.


*sweet* cops wife said...

Oh gosh, this was such an excellent post...really...I always wonder about people I meet at *chance encounters*...some people we meet I think are sent to us...If you believe in *God* or whatever you might believe in, I truly think someone or something *places* people in our lives to make us think or lift us up in some positive way. This guy really left a mark on you and a positive one. Maybe it was meant to be that you *ran into* him that way huh? I don't think he wanted sympathy at all. In my experience with homeless people...cuz ive kinda worked with them before... is that..THAT is the last thing they want..sympathy...Im sure in that chance enounter you both gave each other something. You may not know it, but im sure you left the same type of impression on him in some way...You are a very sweet person!

Osbasso said...

I don't think you need to worry about getting your life planned out. I didn't at your age, and certainly don't have it now! I guess I'm like you--enjoy life, experience things, go places (though I'm just NOW getting into that), and take one day at a time. There's nothing wrong with that!

BTExpress said...

Your still young, so have plenty of time to have a "career". I was 27 before I started in my career path and my brother was 30 before he knew what he wanted to do, electrician, and we both made a good living doing it too.

The story about the man you bought the burger for reminded me of a man I met years ago outside a 7-11. Like you, we talked for a while. He wasn't homeless, just lonely from living alone in a boarding house.

Samantha said...

This was an awesome post, it asked questions, it answered questions, it left me, thanks for sharing!

phairhead said...

Do what makes you happy. yr job doesn't define who you are

The Troll said...

It makes sense to me. It's possible you'll make fewer stupid mistakes and make fewer people hate you if you start your career a tad later than normal.

CowGirl said...

I'll drink to that!!

I wish I could go back and re-live my life I have so many regrets. Do what makes you happy, don't listen to anyone else. It is your life.

Great post

Rage said...

My favorite part was about the homeless guy. If that was true about all that stuff he said that happened to him..that's too bad. It always makes you wonder..