I was 18. I was in my prime and ready to show the world what I was made of. I had listened to my parents for 18 long years and I was ready to get out of “their” house. I counted the days down until I was free. No more rules! I could do what I wanted!
I didn’t just drink. I didn’t just do anything. I lived to the extreme. I taught my body to live off of alcohol instead of oxygen. When I woke up in a strangers bed I just grabbed a bottle of oxygen. It helped me cope with what I had done and it helped me to get ready to do it again.
I was young. I was free. I was going to show everyone who had ever tried to tell me what to do that I could do what I wanted and apparently what I wanted to do included a lot of sex, alcohol and drugs. What I wanted was to do everything in excess and prevent paying the price by doing it again.
I thought I had a reason to drink back then. I was rebellious and wanted to celebrate my new found freedom with a drink. I thought life was hard. I was confused, aimless and hopeless. I knew I didn’t have any solid direction or idea what to do with my freedom and poured my sorrows in alcohol.
Oh, but I didn’t know that life would give me some real things to drink about. I didn’t know I was wasting my time, youthful energy, and freedom. It was a time with little responsibility and without the weight of a family to care for. I was free to try things, makes mistakes, and then try again. I was free to travel the world and truly discover what I wanted my life to be about.
Life has a way of giving you something to drink about.
Try coping with your parents dying and aging, the reality of the marriage you neglected for twenty years, the realization that you put your kids over everything and that you have no idea who you are.
Try sucking down the reality of a mid-life career change. The brutal honesty of your lack of experience and education will hit you after the many interviews you have that you don’t get call backs for. Try accepting the fact that younger people are more qualified and better prepared for what you are trying to do too many years too late.
Try understanding why you didn’t visit all those friends and family over the years and chose to neglect the most important people in your life in the name of not having enough money or time. Try living with the regret that comes as family passes away and you realize that you will never get to do all those things you thought you had plenty of time to get done.
Try coping with watching your precious adult children make the same mistakes that you did. Try staying quiet while they leave to spread their wings. Try being a comfort, but not an annoyance when they come to you after things don’t work out. Try forming that mom smile when you are told to stay out and mind your own business.
Try making a new life for yourself that doesn’t include everything that’s been in it for twenty plus years. Try preparing for the last part of your life. The realization that you are approaching “that” age. That age that signifies things you aren’t ready to think about let alone talk about.
You want something to drink about? Wait. It will hit you. Until then enjoy and celebrate your freedom. Embrace the fact that you have no idea what you want to do. It’s okay to be clueless. If you can embrace the fact that you aren’t sure then you will be on the way to figuring it out. It’s not a three step process. It’s a life process. Don’t look for “all” the answers. Look for a general direction.
Find a way for now. Prepare to change it. Accept that you don’t know where you are going and realize that is exactly how it is for everyone else. Always learn. Always grow and always listen. Your mom and dad do know a few things. You might be surprised what you can learn.
Don’t make mistakes that you will have to get drunk to forget. Make memories that will help you grow and change. You are going to make mistakes your whole life. How you handle them will determine the ultimate outcome.
Life is really short. I know you can’t see it. I couldn’t, but one day you will be where I am. You will be in a place that you are convinced faith can’t help you through. You will be in a place full of memories, regrets, and with fear of a future that seems much shorter than the past.
If there was ever a time to drink it is now, but the past has taught me something. A alcohol induced lapse in memory doesn’t help, but embracing every stage in life does. Now is a time to truly live and be free and to do that I don’t need a drink. I need to experience the emotions and pain of life and grow from them. I need to embrace every day I am alive and fill it with amazing experiences, people, and the things I love. Now that is living.