After a somewhat extended hiatus, I’m “feelin’ it” again. I’m feeling the spark, the desire, the need to birth and nurture a nascent idea into a full creative bloom. That was the commitment I had made to myself several years back when I started a new direction in the kaleidoscopic path of my life and the careers it spawned.
So, what happened? Why the departure from the ambition and public expression that had marked my life, and the disappearance from self-appointed goals, however lofty, and my ceaseless dream pursuit? It’s quite simple—it was time.
Time is a cruel and terribly efficient master. It simultaneously rewards and punishes us. Yet, we have to be mature and wise enough to discern those differences. And, to understand its impact on our lives.
A friend once said to me,”Why is it that always seems you have something to prove to someone?” Great question, though it’s one I really didn’t get at that time. But, this isn’t meant to be a self-indulgent exercise in self analysis. In short, I guess it had something to do with esteem, or questions regarding it. The genesis of which stems specifically from a difficult and sometimes soul-crushing childhood. But, that’s for another, I dare say—time. And, because of that and other reasons it seemed I would never have the luxury of having just enough time to become the best version of myself.
Now, getting back to the bottom of this “time” thing with me. I had lived my life in a fast lane. Maybe not in the sense that many of us in America may perceive it – I’m thinking carefree, as in reckless and neurotic with little regard for consequences. What I mean is… Well, think of it more in terms of a German Autobahn which is logically organized in terms of speed management and traffic flow. The right lane is the slowest and it’s meant for drivers to transition onto and off the motorway without disrupting the flow of traffic. The middle lanes are meant for comfortable cruising at “moderate” speeds. And the left lane is for the vehicles and drivers who have the mechanical prowess and the deftness and savvy to handle speeds that often hover at 100 miles per hour. Often, there are drivers who are going even faster: they blink when they’re approaching you from behind. You, then, lawfully move over to the middle lane and allow them to book on down the road speed racer style.
Well, that was me. At times I was hurtling down a well-designed, logically thought-out path at 100 MPH, moving over and slowing down when it was prudent, or when I simply had or was told to. But never because I was tired, or even burnt out. Constantly moving at that rate of speed, though, eventually takes a toll, physically, emotionally and psychologically. But you never knew it if you knew me. I had become quite adept at deferring it.
Well, the bill came due.
I had spent most of the last part of the nineties and most of the 2000’s as a Soldier in uniform. I had deployed to some very nasty places and had participated in some very ugly things. All in the name of serving my country as sincerely dutifully and courageously as possible. My heart, soul and psyche was doused in Army camouflage. My life, and my time beyond “authorized” relaxing and recreating for short, and in many cases controlled periods, was no longer mine.
There were times then, many times, I thought I would longer have my own time to live my own life and pursue my own dreams and passions. I had seen death. I smelled it’s eerie, putrid, breath. Death’s unforgiving scythe had slashed around me. Yet I survived while others died. Many of the people I knew in the life I lived before I voluntarily stepped back into uniform were thriving and doing well. That’s what I wanted—to thrive. I yearned for the time I was an ambitious Anchor/Reporter who was at ground zero for Bill Clinton’s rise to the presidency, and who had the privilege of interviewing for a network correspondent’s spot with one of NBC’s top newsmen and executives.
Then came the time for me to undergo rapid change again and retire from the wartime Army. It was a sudden, soul-shaking transition. I had to be a normal citizen again. And I had to be ready to re-invent myself, again, and reemerge in the media in some capacity. I was so ready. Or, so I thought.
I wasn’t. Not at all. Not then, and strangely not even several years after my Army retirement. I was a mess… The fast lane warped me. All that time in the Army, and the time before that as an ambitious broadcast journalist left me fatigued and disillusioned. Even the time before that as a starry-eyed sailor speeding toward lofty goals that were fashioned from my dreams and a steely reaction to those who constantly said I could not, would not, or will not, left me wasted and nearly shattered.
I no longer knew who I was, or whom I had been, or even where all the time went. I obsessed over why I hadn’t achieved, ultimately this, or that, in a prescribed amount of time. I lamented over why I was of no real interest at the present time to media entities in Seattle, Washington, despite my war experience, credentials, and slew of past awards for professional excellence.
As I said, time is a cruel master, and even when you feel you have mastered it, “it” changes, morphs, shifts, and ultimately renders you a relic of a past time in a new unfamiliar paradigm… But that’s If you let it. I’ll leave the inference to you.
So, I took the time to recalibrate, retool – refresh. I needed to conquer the demons that had chased me from all those years in a faster lane. Several of them caught up and started devouring me.
It happens every time.
It’s a slower process. First, the re-write of the play “Submerged,” which is nearly finished, Then a bigger, more meaningful and hopefully better received production of the play. Then, screenplays… films… the renewed quest to be the very best person I can be—this time.
Yes, now, it’s time. I’m feelin’ it!