Minutes to memories

So, I get home from work today, and after reading the new postings on all of the websites I check daily, I found myself looking up old song videos on Youtube.com. I was in a mood for something I hadn’t heard in a while, and before long, I found this: Minutes to Memories by John Cougar.

Damn, damn, and triple damn, that took me back a long way. Scarecrow, the album that song was on, was released in 1985. That was the year I graduated high-school. The summer I went to Costa Rica for the second time. The year I started college.  I loved that CD the day I bought it, and loved it so much that I went through about three copies of it.

“On a Greyhound thirty miles beyond Jamestown
He saw the sun set on the Tennessee line
He looked at the young man who was riding beside him
He said I’m old kind of worn out inside
I worked my whole life in the steel mills of Gary
And my father before me I helped build this land
Now I’m seventy-seven and with God as my witness
I earned every dollar that passed through my hands
My family and friends are the best thing I’ve known
Through the eye of the needle I’ll carry them home”

So, I listened to/watched the video about four times. Let my mind kind of drifted away, remembered.

I won’t give you the long list of things I remembered, mainly because it would bore you, and more importantly, me, to tears, but I did want to talk about something I noticed. Specifically I noticed that lines that didn’t mean that much to me when I was 18 mean a whole lot more to me now that I’m 42 going on 43.

“Days turn to minutes
And minutes to memories
Life sweeps away the dreams
That we have planned
You are young and you are the future
So suck it up and tough it out
And be the best you can”

I had so many dreams. So many things I was going to do with my life. I was going to go to college and have all the college experiences. Afterward I was going to be part of the political world, working as a staffer in Washington. Or maybe working in an embassy somewhere overseas. Yeah, I was going to do a lot of things.

You know what happens when you make a lot of plans? Life happens, and the plans kind of go of line. Or they go away. That’s kind of what happened to me. To make a very long story, very short, in college I developed a bit of a problem with booze. To be quite honest, I was a drunk. Of course, at the time I just thought I was a normal college student. I mean, all college students drink, right? Apparently not all of them drank as much as I did.

So, my plans for my life didn’t exactly work out the way I thought they would. Nor the way my family thought it would, or the way any of my friends thought it would.

“The rain hit the old dog in the twilight’s last gleaming
He said Son it sounds like rattling old bones
This highway is long but I know some that are longer
By sunup tomorrow I guess I’ll be home
Through the hills of Kentucky ‘cross the Ohio river
The old man kept talking ’bout his life and his times
He fell asleep with his head against the window
He said an honest man’s pillow is his peace of mind
This world offers riches and riches will grow wings
I don’t take stock in those uncertain things”

Yeah, life didn’t work out the way I had planned. But here’s the thing¬† I noticed today: My plans, my life didn’t work out, this is true, but it’s not been a bad life. It t00k me a while, but I eventually got to the point where I can say I’m an honest man.
I’ve also truly come to understand that the world does offer riches, but those riches, for the most part are temporary, and that you shouldn’t give those things a lot of importance.

I have also come to understand that the true source of riches is in the friendship and respect of family and friends. By that measure, I am a truly wealthy man. I have more friends, true friends, than I have ever had in my life.

“The old man had a vision but it was hard for me to follow
I do things my way and I pay a high price
When I think back on the old man and the bus ride
Now that I’m older I can see he was right”

I do, in fact, do things my way. I have paid a high price, but the important thing is, the price was worth it.I wouldn’t be the person I am if I hadn’t paid that price. Now, I will admit that when I’m paying the price I don’t like it..but later, after some time to look back on things, I don’t regret paying it.

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