“It’s time to move on, time to get going;
What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing.
But under my feet, baby, grass is growing.
It’s time to move on, it’s time to get going.”
– Tom Petty, “Time to Move On”
The cranes appeared tonight.
Maybe they came earlier, but tonight is the first night I saw them – a pair, dominating the nighttime sky, reaching 20 stories or higher.
They’ll be another building there, they tell me. Claiming the Tempe skyline. Parking structure three stories beneath the ground.
Progress means closing a whole street; erecting massive fences.
Progress and $300 million – I’m estimating – lets you close a street. For as long as you need.
You and I, we can’t close a street in the name of progress.
You and I? We’re on our own.
* * *
But we make progress all the same, don’t we?
Through the up and down, up and down, up and down, we wake again; will ourselves to another day and most of the time, do it pretty damn good.
Today was United, and San Bernardino and the normal every day shit. And tonight is family or friends, and dinner, and the routine. We rest our heads and prepare for a repeat because we are insanely resilient and resistant and, damn it, it’s just what we do.
Sometimes, there’s no thought put into it at all.
There are people dependent upon us – children, parents, spouses.
Ain’t no bitching about the lot we’re given. You pick yourself up, you move on, because that’s what needs to be.
The scholars, the social analysts, they rarely delve into that. They talk in ideals. They don’t talk in the day-to-day realities of what we face. They talk about how things should be, how they could be, how they aren’t.
But they’re not us – with all of our circumstances and intricacies.
We make decisions based on what’s best for those we kiss goodnight.
Sometimes, when we’re in our best place, we make decisions based on what’s best for us, too.
* * *
A lot of my writings over the last couple months have been filled with all the dark places I’ve been. This space is a healthy outlet for that.
But it’s not entirely fair.
The real-world implication of that is uncomfortable. I write from the gut at 1 a.m., then I see a friend at 9 a.m. the following day as I drop off my kid at school, and they look at me as if I’m troubled.
Expression of the gut is a pretty complicated matter; especially when we’re sharing it publicly.
The public sphere isn’t the same as spilling things to your best friend – the one that really knows you – over a glass of wine. The written word sometimes lacks the subtlety or context that comes with knowledge.
But this whole thing is an experiment; and so onward I go, fear be damned – the good outweighs the bad. If there’s anything I’ve been given, it’s the ability to be shut off the worry about what others think. If I do a poor job explaining one day, I’ll come back and try it again the next.
I think that old saying, “Journalism is the first draft of history,” has stuck with me all these years. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time, every time.
The truth is, all in all, things have been going well these days.
I’ve washed away the anxiety by simplifying; I’ve washed away the worrying through simple mantras and focusing on what is good.
“I am here tonight in this comfortable bed. Heidi is by my side. The kids are comfortable and asleep.”
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Until I fall asleep.
* * *
So, what’s the point?
Well, sometimes there is none.
It’s all in the day-to-day.
It’s all in how we live.
Because this makes up most of it.
And we have a choice as to how we perceive it.
Sometimes we’re so damn bad ass, they close major roads to pave our way to progress.
Most of the time, they leave us alone – stranded – to find our own way.
* * *
I’m looking for the concise and cheeky way to wrap it all up; to make you ponder deeply as you read that last word. To be the bad-ass writer.
But all I really wanted to convey when I set to the keyboard tonight is that everything is okay – great, in fact.
There is no dark cloud, no deep angst.
No loss that requires some somber missive.
It’s okay. Geez, sometimes, life in all its redundancy – all the things we do to support the people we love – is just okay.
And that’s okay, too.
We don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day.
Sometimes, we just get up and do what we have to do – road closure or not, depending on your stature.
And that’s enough.
More than enough.
The trick is to believe it.