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I Miss The Single Life...Sometimes

Fridgescape, a.k.a. The Single Life
Source: Flickr

Over the past few days Death has grabbed hold of me and kept me close to its bosom.

Is that dramatic enough for you?

In truth, the recent and seemingly continuing outbreak of celebrity deaths has left me a bit shell-shocked, not because I was ever lulled into the belief that these persons were above death, but some hit very, very close to home. Unlike Ed McMahon who lived a long life and seemed to be in decline the longer he stuck around, and unlike Farrah whose demise had essentially been televised and documented such that the day of her passing seemed almost been foretold by the media, the deaths of Michael Jackson, who is now being revered simply as "MJ" --- a man only 13 years older than me, and then Steve McNair --- a man 1 year younger than me --- have both left me speechless, unable to write and reflective.

I still haven't gotten around to putting together what I want to elaborate for Michael Jackson, but I will say this there has not been a week of my life since gaining self-awareness (somewhere around six or seven years old) that I haven't heard a Michael Jackson song, a Michael Jackson reference, or had some random Michael Jackson thought tap dance across my mind. Let me repeat: not a single week of my life has passed without him. The reality that this man had that much of an impact, be subtle, obvious or outrageous, is almost debilitating to fathom. Steve McNair...poor guy --- I know he didn't see that one coming. Dude was still a young'n by old man standards. Damn.

The day before Michael Jackson left this life I watched a woman clad in sweats walk into a neighborhood diner alone. I was across the street at a pizzeria ordering a pizza for my brood and my parents. We both left our respective establishments at the same time, I, with my 18-inch pie and bag of sodas and she, with a tidy little meal wrapped tidily in a brown paper bag. As I walked to my truck she stayed in my periphery for about a minute before disappearing into her building down the block. I felt envy creep over me.

When you're single...

  • you don't have to answer to anyone.
  • you don't have to argue with anyone.
  • you don't have anyone to argue with you.
  • you can sleep as late as you want.
  • you don't have to stay up to make sure no one is up past their bedtime.
  • you don't have to consider anyone other than yourself.
  • you only have to clean up after yourself (if you clean up).
  • you are the only one who suffers from your mistakes.
  • you are the only one to blame when things go wrong.
  • you don't tire as easily.
  • your spirit of adventure is self-perpetuating, or at least it should be.
  • you have the time and opportunity to learn the full ins and outs of the man or woman in the mirror.
  • life is what you and you alone make it.
  • you can save a lot of money, or you can spend a lot on yourself.
  • going to church, working out, having hobbies, reading a good book, truly maintaining friendships are all things you can fully devote yourself to.

Of course this list can go on, covering topics from the gravely real to the completely absurd. My point is that life as a married person is just different than that as a single one.

But should it be? If there's anything to be learned from the deaths of these very human, but larger than life individuals that have recently passed, it's that the dash --- that little (or long if you hit return in Microsoft Word) mark between your start date and your end date, the bookends of your destiny on this planet, is what really matters.

  • As a parent, you love your children unconditionally, but do you love your fellow man?
  • As a husband or wife, you pledge for better or worse, but when things get worse do you get better?
  • When life has you beat down telling you you can't, do you fight back, or do you lie down and accept the fate someone else has put on you? Because barring sickness (and sometimes even then) it's always someone else (PS - the insecure you is someone else, too).
  • When you look in the mirror (beyond how fine you might think you are) is the face looking back at you yours? Do you even know who you're looking at?
  • When you go to bed at night do you sleep heavily because you're exhausted from pouring your blood, sweat and tears into the day?
  • When you're not satisfied with your life do you sketch out a game plan for success or do you resort to complaining?
  • When you just can't do it anymore, do you fall down on your knees and ask God for His strength to flow through you (for those of you who believe)?

Many of the above positives were the life rules of these recent "great ones" who now precede us in death. They were blessed and gifted, but they were also very much in tune with a) the fact that they were mere vessels of a higher power, and b) their limitations --- none.

I miss the single life...from time to time. This doesn't make me a bad man or husband. It makes me human. I know the grass isn't greener on the other side. It's just different. There's definitely more time to mow the lawn over there than over here, but I still have a lawn. And as long as I do, it's mine to make as healthy, green and lush as I want to. If it ends up a field of rocks and weeds, that's on me.

Get it?

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