The Zoey Blog: You've Got Things to Do Today FINAL - COVER UNIVERSE EXPLORERS ORDER

Sunday, December 22, 2013

You've Got Things to Do Today

You wake up on a random Sunday morning, the last one before Christmas, in fact, and thanks to the online version of the LA Times you find out that Ned Vizzini has committed suicide and that the real life Jerry McGuire, Leigh Steinberg, is a recently recovering alcoholic, and the day just looks different.

I always tell the kids that I work with, each one, that the world does not care about you...that tomorrow morning the sun will come up, and people will go to work, even the people that you know will go about their lives with absolutely no critical awareness of your plight.  They won't stop to wonder how you are.  They won't embrace your issues.  They won't wonder if things are okay in your universe.  The world will just keep spinning, so...bluntly, it's up to you to do something about your problems.  No one else is going to wait for that bus to pull up to take you wherever you need to go.  You should just drive there yourself.  It's harsh, but it's true.  This world will spin on and on without the slightest hiccup that you're unhappy.  So get up and find the strength or help to manage it all...or don't.  Reading about Vizzini and Steinberg this morning it strikes me that those words are more truthful than even I care to admit.  We're born into dizzyingly unsympathetic life.  Get yourself a helmet and hang on...or don't.

It's hard to look at my sleeping daughter and think, "this universe does not give a damn about you," or to feel the tiny heartbeat of yet another daughter as she fades into slumber on my chest and imagine that the world could care less about her, does not need her, does not have a plan for her, does not care...but it's true, and that's difficult to imagine and accept.  The sun rises and sets, regardless.

So I will promise my girls this...

I will try to be great...not just good, no...great.  I will try to be more than I can be, and something that makes you proud.  I will try to be different than the rest...better, if I can.  I will do my best to see the world for what it is, and clang away at it's hard edges until it's what I want it to a blacksmith pounding red hot steel.  I'll do my best to shape my world...our world...into what we so desperately  want it to be.

I'll try to be the kind of person that the universe, as indifferent as it is, mourns when I go.  I'll help people. I'll help myself.  I'll try not to simply accept, or sit idle, but instead I'll fight, and scratch, and I'll dodge and weave...I'll run instead of jog.  I'll climb instead of walking around, the easy way.  I'll try to live in a way that makes people say, "look at that."  I'll learn from mistakes, and leave myself open to change and criticism.  I won't be scared.  I won't regret.  I'll live as though you were watching every single second because you are.  Whatever you can imagine your Dad to be...that's what I'll be.  If you think that I can fly...I will.

There's no big secret to all of this living stuff.  Just be sincere...don't give up...don't let the bad guys win...get up when you're knocked hard...find meaning...give...accept love and help...fight for things...let go of about the people who care about more than you think you more than you don't...pick yourself up, don't wait for others...find peace in everything...find hope.  Remember who you are and what you mean to have no idea.  Be bright and bold and beautiful and shine...oh wow, shine.  Make people respect you.  Demand love.  Do what you do and do it better than anyone.  No one is going to just give you any of that, or make you anything even closely resembling you have to take have to create your own love story, your own success story, your own legacy.  YOU have to.  The universe isn't waiting on it either way.  It's just waiting on you to get old and fade away.  It'll replace you soon enough, but don't make it easy...don't make finding another you a simple task.  Make it hard.  Make it nearly impossible for the word to find another you.  Make sure there are a lot of people saying on the day you die, "man, the world is a way worse place now that he's gone."  Do that and to hell with the damn universe.  The universe doesn't care about us or me. It doesn't.

Go on then.  In the words of the late Ray Charles, "go on and do what you do, baby."  Don't wait for someone else to make you happy, or give you meaning.  Don't let anyone else decide on your trajectory.  Chart that path yourself.  If you're unhappy it's not because of someone else, it's because of you.  I don't mean that to sound harsh.  I'm not trying to inspire.  You shouldn't need me to do that.  Look in the mirror, find love and purpose, and go on and get this living thing done.  Do it right.  You only get one chance.  You wake up on a Sunday morning and someone's died and another person's life has fallen apart only to be pieced back together, a much more humble version of what it was, but maybe a better one?  You wake up Sunday morning and the universe does not care that you woke.  Now you've got all day to make it take notice.  Better get busy doing something other than feeling small.  Better get busy being the kind of person that the universe can't ignore.  I recommend a shower and some coffee first, but to each his own.


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