For most of us the John Lennon line about life being what happens when you’re making other plans seems academic at first but, as the years go by, passes through phases of being something funny, something clever, something understandable and then something cruel. The worst part about our headlong trudge to the tomb is the way that once we realize how much road is already behind us it is far too late to go back and fix the mistakes we made along the way. Maybe the best bit about life—and I am setting an admittedly low bar here, but look what we have to deal with—is that although we are always tempted to pinpoint specific instances where the decisions we made had irrevocable effects on our trajectory from that moment forward, if we are honest with ourselves we can admit that, for the most part, we were going to wind up exactly where we did no matter what. We are who we are and the choices we make are the results of those immutable traits that add up to the person who, for better or worse and usually worse, stares back at us in the mirror each morning with a mixture of pity and astonishment. If we could turn back time we would mostly make the same mistakes, maybe at different moments but always moving us in the same direction. You’ve fucked up your life through an accretion of small details, not by one or two enormous errors. It is pointless to pine for a do-over; you would just do it over badly. That is who you are and at some point you will have to make peace with it. That said, you do have a chance this weekend to go back in time and do things differently, but it happens at 2 AM Sunday morning and, if you are not sleeping through it, you will almost certainly be ensconced in a bad decision you won’t be able to do anything to alter with the extra hour you get. That’s the way life works. It’s what happens when you’re busy finding ways to fuck things up for yourself. Death will probably be a relief.
Photo by Guian Bolisay, via Flickr