Long Life Trajectories

I went to a Roger Waters concert earlier tonight. I got a free ticket and I make it a habit to see anything or anyone who’s supposed to be one of the best, even though I don’t like rock music.

One of my first memories of music is listening to Another Brick in the Wall in my dad’s car as a kid. I loved the song, not because of any musical aspect or because I really understood the song, but because of one line: “we don’t need no education.” Even then my enjoyment of the lyric wasn’t very nuanced. I just didn’t like doing homework, and leaving the kids alone sounded like a good idea to me.

The last song I saw tonight before I left at intermission was that one. Waters brought a bunch of kids on the stage who danced and sang the chorus. When they bowed at the end they were all a bit too enthusiastic about their contributions, just as I would have been at that age. That made me think about the first time I heard that song, probably when I was around their age.

My life always feels like it’s short until I stop and think about all of the things that have happened in it. I thought back to the kid who didn’t want to do homework and thought about how he’d never believe my life is as it is.

I think about that kid when I make decisions sometimes. See! You did get an island after all!

My girlfriend left Vegas today. Now it seems totally logical that I’d have a really sweet and beautiful girlfriend, around whom I can joke and be myself. I remember a time where that seemed almost impossible to me, and that time doesn’t seem so far away until I start thinking about every step that had to happen for me to get here.

I always thought that I’d be a CEO of a software company. Mostly I just loved Bill Gates as a kid. I guess by a very loose definition I am, but CruiseSheet has zero employees and I hope to keep it that way. I would have never guessed that a good part of my income would come either directly or indirectly from writing. After all, essays were a big part of that homework I didn’t want to do.

Last week I bought a car that I never thought I’d be able to have. I met the seller at Bellagio and drove it home and thought about the first time I went to Bellagio. We pestered the front desk guy to let us look at pictures of suites because we couldn’t afford one, or a normal room for that matter. And now I was picking up a pretty fancy car from the same driveway I walked up, and was bringing it home a couple miles away.

I’m not sure how true this is for other people, but I never know what my life is going to be like in the future. Usually it’s better than I expected, or at least pleasantly different. But even in the most strange circumstances, I can see that my actions led to the unexpected result. Usually we can’t steer towards an exact outcome, but we’ll end up in the right area.

Sometimes things go poorly, too, of course. No one is immune to luck, and I know it’s helped me at least as many times as it has hurt me. But looking at life from a mile up I can see that overall I can see that taking a lot of actions, making a lot of decisions, and worrying very little about individual outcomes has created some really good long-term results.

If your life is predictable and is everything you want it to be, then you’re all set. If it’s unpredictable and everything you want it to be, that’s great, too. If it’s unpredictable and bad, you’re probably not making good decisions. But if your life is predictable and not everything you want it to be, that may be a symptom that you aren’t doing enough. Taking actions and making decisions, even when they’re not perfect, is the process by which you move your life in a good direction, even if you don’t know exactly where you’ll end up.

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Photo is a cool sculpture outside the T-Mobile Arena. I think it was at Burning Man one year.

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