Sitting here at the kitchen table, at one in the morning, in the house I grew up in, I’m about to type words which suddenly sound like a confession.
I just caught the end of Almost Famous, a movie I’ve seen many times, and the final minutes made me feel more alive than real life usually does.
It’s as if every expression of unconditional love, friendship, forgiveness, and selflessness I unknowingly miss from my childhood has been summarized and exquisitely encapsulated in a few facial expressions and dead-on dialogue.
Why a confession?
I don’t know really, but that’s how it’s resonating.
Maybe because I’m admitting that I’m not always so in love with life.
And that’s a little sad.
I just wish I can feel the feelings this film leaves me with more often.
I swear I’m going to figure out how. I’m going to dedicate my whole goddamn life to it. For me and for you.
Because that love, stripped down and exposed, is an intoxicant like no other.
You know what, fuck us.
Just, fuck us.
Fuck our whole goddamn species.
I saw The Martian the other night and these were my exact thoughts as the closing credits hit the screen.
In case you’re not up on the movies, The Martian is a new one starring Matt Damon.
He plays an astronaut who’s left for dead on Mars by his crew. But get this ladies and germs, he’s totally alive. And they totally go back to save him while all of Earth’s inhabitants sit on pins and needles.
It was awesome.
Such an awesome movie.
So awesome that I clapped as soon as it was over.
Nevertheless, fuck us.
It’s so pathetically human to risk everything, without sparing an expense, to save just one person.
As we should.
But what’s so pathetic of us is that within just two klicks of everyone reading this, there’s definitely a kid who went to bed hungry or some old person who’s totally been forgotten about.
And I certainty don’t see any sympathetic mother fuckers forming candlelight vigils in the middle of Times Square for these poor folks as they did for Matt Damon.
C’mon Gabe, it’s just a movie.
No, it’s not just a movie.
It’s our reality and you know it.
But no one’s life is worth more than anyone else’s.
Our species is totally fucking doomed until those nine words become our collective religion:
NO ONE’S LIFE IS WORTH MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE’S
And not to freak anyone out, but I’ll let you in on a metaphysical little secret: there’s truly only one life. And it’s flowing through all of us.
In this exact moment.
Life, this perfect, unified, inevitable, ineffable force, is flowing through you and I, through the rich and the famous, the sick and the poor, the birds, the bees, and of course the trees.
And what should we be doing with this one life of ours?
Caring for it. All of it. Because, we are it.
thank you for trading your time for these words – it means the world to me,
I thought about crushing his legs between my car and the Mercedes in front of me, but only for a fleeting moment.
It wasn’t really me though. Just a few thousand rouge neurons, out of the trillions in my brain, firing with fiery rage.
I was stuck in traffic and saw a guy blatantly toss a food wrapper to the ground.
He proceeded to cross the street, right in front of my car, and I really wanted to be karma’s delivery boy.
There you go mother fucker.
Littering career: over.
Thank you very little.
“Gabe, this isn’t very spiritual of you. This isn’t the Gabe I know. You’ve disappointed me.”
Good. Go read someone else’s words.
I don’t exist to offer sugary spoonfuls of what you’re expecting to hear.
(Obviously I’m not talking to you. I’m addressing everyone else but you).
I only exist as this expression of existence and sometimes this expression of existence is tempted to express itself as the righter of wrongs.
And sometimes I do.
But I swear, it’s out of love. The toughest of love. For all involved.
If not me, then who?
Right, there’s you.
Thank god for you.
“Just remember that I love you.”
Through struggling breaths, my grandma said this to me last night from her hospital bed before I left for the night.
“I love you too,” I said in return.
My mom was completely convinced that her mom’s hospital bed was transitioning to her death bed.
Her death bed, by sun up.
I was on the fence about it, but just in case, I was comfortable with those final words.
They were perfect.
And with that, here she is today, miraculously better.
Even more evidence pointing to the universe’s marionette strings.
But why would the universe pull her to be snippy with my mom and exude zero gratefulness for anything?
I have no idea.
I won’t even hazard a guess.
Que sera sera is my only answer to the question “why”.
I’m just grateful, so incredibly grateful, for my health today, and so grateful, so incredibly grateful that I’m pulled to offer kindness often.
And just remember dear reader, I love you.
“Love me tonight for I may never see you again.”
In my teens, when I heard Springsteen sing this line, it sounded to me like he was pleading with a girl to let go of all future expectations so they can intertwine in the moment as young lovers do.
But while shaving this morning, and listening to this old tune for the first time in many years, I processed it differently.
Not necessarily in a more mature way, but maybe through evolved senses.
I put The Boss on because I was on the phone with a good friend whose son is a cancer survivor and she said a few final words, rather intentionally, right out his lyrics.
She wants to shave her head to raise awareness, which is a noble gesture, but unfortunately, we’re already aware.
All you have to do is listen to live ‘E Street Band’ introductions from back in the day.
“On the organ, ‘Phantom’ Dan Federici.”
“Do I have to say his name? Do I have to speak his name? The Big Man, Clarence Clemons.”
Clarence is dead.
And someone, in just about every family everywhere, is suffering from something as you read these words.
So, if we still have our hair, lets allow it to blow in the wind as long as we can.
Instead, lets be more loving to our loved ones in the moments we have with them.
Obviously, that’s obvious.
But what’s not so obvious, is that moment with them, which sometimes turns out to be the last moment.
With that said, I don’t think Bruce was just trying to get laid.
I think he was letting the listener in on a secret that we already know but refuse to process.
“Love me tonight for I may never see you again.”
And he ends the song with the heartfelt,
“Oh, love me tonight and I promise I’ll love you forever.”
I’ve heard that lyric thousands of times since my first experience with it in 1985.
But today it permeated my soul and caused my tear ducts to open up and overflow because it resonated automatically as the highest truth.
thank you for being with me in this moment,
I’ve been alive for precisely 15,696 days and of those, I’m unsure how many I’ve woken up happy for.
Not too many unfortunately.
But this morning, upon opening my eyes, I met the world with an unforced, lighthearted smile.
And that, of course, is all that matters.
I’m writing today because yesterday was my forty-third birthday and I feel compelled to jot a few thoughts down.
So, here we are. Me writing and you reading.
Before I continue though, I’d like to thank everyone who ever took the time, even once, to read the words that are sometimes pushed through me. Especially these few right now.
And I know this is going to make me sound like a corn dog, and I also know that you know that I don’t care how I sound, so I’ll just come out and say that I have such love for you.
So much love.
And I wish nothing for you other than health and joy. And I wish exactly the same for all of your love ones. And all of your acquaintances.
And even all of your enemies, if you have any.
Because love is an elixir. And I have enough of it, in me, for all of them.
I’m now forty-three, and still haven’t experienced much worldly success.
But if success was measured by our ability to love unconditionally, I’m Warren Buffet. I’m Bill Gates. I’m every member of every royal family. All added together. And then multiplied by…
And just like that, poof, I am now as compelled to stop writing as I was to start.
This is enough.
I feel the way I was destined to feel – even better than this morning.
Confident. Powerful. Gentle. Still.
I initially intended to tell you about an old man I saw on the boardwalk the other day. He was wearing khaki pants, a tan jacket, and a tan, unmarked baseball hat. He was walking alone. Competently, but with concentration. And since it was the day before my birthday, I saw in him my possible future.
I was going to also write about my ninety-four year old grandma who has fallen ill.
And, of course, I was going to mention my dad. I’d complain to him every year about getting older and every year he’d say the exact same thing.
He’d first remove his glasses, then slowly lift his head from the New York Times, and then finally say to me, “Growing older is better than the alternative.”
He was so right.
My god, he was so right.
I miss him so much.
Yesterday morning, upon waking, I searched through my memories for his smile. And when I found it, I meditated on it for a few minutes.
And now here I sit in Starbucks, teary.
But still confident, powerful, gentle, still.
So, why did I wake up happy today?
Maybe because I finally figured out who I am and what my true purpose is.
Who am I?
I am love.
What’s my purpose?
To be a beacon of it.
With that said, I know down to my mitochondria that worldly success is also on its way.
But in the unlikely event I turn out to be wrong about this, I’ll always be okay.
More than okay.
Because love can’t fail.
Love is automatically the antithesis of failure.
“I am like the Buddha when I decide to smile for no reason. But when I find myself smiling for no reason, I am the Buddha.” – gb
The summer’s sun is now but a memory.
And like everything else which we once loved, it has left us too soon.
The seagulls have reclaimed the beaches and I feel like an old ghost walking amongst them on the shoreline.
The days are getting darker, earlier, and the cold winter is foreshadowed in this breeze.
I imagine the seagulls are angels in bird bodies as they screech to me.
“Like everything else, summers come and go but always remember to be the source of your own light,” they say.
I smile a slight smile and walk on.