Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Life's Mulligans

Last Thursday we went to a memorial for my husband's friend, Paul Nelson. Paul was no relation to me (that I know of) but we did have a few things in common. His first love was music and he made quite a career of not only writing about it, but also had a knack for finding extraordinary talent and then championing the cause of that talent with a loyalty and devotion that was (and still is) quite rare in this world. He also loved films and spent his waning years as a bit of a recluse, eschewing the music industry to work as a clerk in a Greenwich Village video store, which is where he befriended Dave (my husband).

His memorial was rather surreal, as these two very separate worlds collided. There was a long list of speakers, many of them the rock critics and icons we grew up reading in the pages of Rolling Stone, Musician, Cream and other rags that were once our main connection to the music world, before television and the Internet changed the landscape. So it was a bit freaky to hear my own dear David speak at a podium shared by the likes of Dave Marsh, Kurt Loder and David Johansen. However, these people came together to skillfully paint a vivid picture of this man's life via their own reflections. It became clear through their reminiscences that Paul was revered by his music industry colleagues, but that he made a conscious decision to pretty much sever all ties to that world and establish a new life that was lived on his own terms.

We caught a cab home and as we were driving over the Brooklyn Bridge, it occurred to me that I also have made a similar choice. I decided to abandon a good life. A life that appeared nearly perfect to those on the outside because the flaws and cracks were buried deep within. But I have successfully sown a new life. One that roots in solid ground and bears sweeter fruits. Of course it is not perfect, it could never be, but it is so much more rewarding and full that I can only rejoice in the fact that I am content. Who would have ever dreamed that driving over the Brooklyn Bridge on a Thursday evening would be a routine matter for me? Certainly not this small-town gal. Sometimes it astounds me... the way I threw myself out into the great unknown and came up smiling.

There were many at Paul's service who knew him only in his "first" life and couldn't comprehend why he would embrace obscurity the way he did. But it makes sense to me. Life is far too short to waste it being unfullfilled and discontented.


Blogger Billychic said...

Amen, sister.

It sounds like you both have/had the right idea.

I'm glad that your life has become what you've made it - and that you're happy. That's an important lesson that I have to remember - I need to get up off my ass and do something I want.


9:46 AM  

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