When we are young, we literally know jack shit. We don’t understand how the world works. We don’t know a damn thing about who we are or who we want to be. We don’t understand the complexities and subtleties of relationships. We know nothing of regret. We simply strut our cocky asses around without a care in the world with a sense of invulnerability and a determination to conquer the planet. We only become aware of our ignorance when reality knocks us on our ass or when we realize that it is too late and the moment has passed.
I experienced the latter recently when it struck me how badly I missed out with my grandparents. My grandparents were total badasses. One grandfather was a captain in the Navy with a doctorate in music. Another was a bomber pilot who experienced war first hand and was even shot several times during bombing runs. Even my grandmom worked in a piano factory that was turned into part of the military complex to further the efforts of the war.
The lives they experienced and the tragedies they lived through was an abundance of knowledge that cannot be reproduced. They had so many stories to share, adventures to recall, and insights to offer and I had the chance to hear it all first hand. This is the type of stuff you simply cannot even hope to learn by reading a book. It’s the type of stuff that in my current stage of life I would drool over. I can picture myself sharing a cup of coffee completely enraptured by every nugget of wisdom each tale offered.
Alas, it is only a dream. Instead, my young arrogant ass treated every moment shared as a burden. Instead, my mind was focused on how quickly I could get back to my friends or play the newest video game. Rather than realizing I was in the presence of legends and should be cherishing the time spent together, I assumed they would be around forever and “next time” I wouldn’t be so consumed by outside influences.
It should be no surprise that eventually “next time” never came. I fucked up. I missed out. My dumb ass is so aloof that it even took me years after they had all passed to even realize what I had missed out on and to put the thought down on paper. Now, with it out in the open, it will haunt me as one of my greatest regrets.
The lesson here is, life is short. Lose the ego. When you think you know it all, pull your head out of your own ass and make sure you realize you don’t. Take advantage of the time you have with your friends and family. Cherish it. Hold on to it with all you have. If you find yourself saying, “next time I won’t be so distracted” understand that next time can easily become never.