The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it. - W. M. Lewis
This quote was posted by my friend Leslie Menninger on Facebook recently. She is always sharing wonderful quotes daily that instill the best feelings humans can experience. This particular quote struck a chord with me that I just can’t shake. When a subject, event or happening catches my eye and won’t let go, I must write a blog about it. It’s not that I have something monumental to add or that I am able to impart some new and exciting meaning to the quote’s substance. It only means that it struck a chord in my being and I was able to hear harmony in the music.
After reading the quote, I wanted to remember when my life really started. I spent the first fifty-two years of my life living on the edge of reason and sanity. I always wanted to be like someone else who appeared to have all the things I could not acquire. I was never satisfied with any one woman for very long. The amazing part was that these women were so much further along emotionally than me. What drew them toward me I will never understand? Please know that my intentions were always honorable…at least at first.
I did not start drinking until I was twenty-six and believe me I tried to make up for all the years I missed. Drugs were a part of the culture at the time and I tried them, but they never took the place of alcohol. I don’t blame my behavior on booze and drugs. I blame my behavior on the lack of character to walk away from the very things that were causing me to run and hide from reality. I do blame myself for hurting people who loved me and then turning my back to their pain. I now feel their pain more intensely than they ever could. That is my cross to bear, even to my grave.
One fine day in 1990, I came across a book by Dr. Steven Covey called “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.” Books, and the authors who write them, can be an incredibly positive experience to those who read them. As an author, my sole intent is to have somebody read my work and be captivated and unable to put the darn thing down even long enough to use the restroom. This is how Dr. Covey’s book affected me. Someone else could try and read the book and end up using it for TP. I lived and breathed his book until it was internalized and I started living the principals the book offered. That was the first day of my life.
Some might say I wasted fifty-two years, but that is not the reality of life. The reality is that even though those years, for the most part, were unproductive and sometimes destructive, all the roads I have taken were essential to the place and time I now live in. Had I varied one iota from my path, I would not be married to the most wonderful woman in the world and enjoying the most fulfilling life any person could ask for. The lesson for me is that even though I have deep regrets, I would not change even one moment of my life if offered this very second. This is the wonderful paradox of time and the reason we must always go forward into the future.
Yes, I started my life late, but every year after 1995 has been filled with excitement and wonderment at how beautiful a sober life can be. My existence is the most exciting high I have ever experienced!