Thursday, May 6, 2010

Holy Crap I Didn't Die By 30!

It’s May and that means that I have journeyed beyond another day marking my birth. Thirty years I have been on this planet and thirty years has taught me much and yet very little. I say very little because I am now aware of the daunting amount of data available to learn and understand that it is quite improbable that I will ever learn all there is too know. I have received both adulation and consoling notes regarding my “youth passing” as one person informed me. The old myth that people turning thirty tend to experience an early mid life crisis is one I have not experienced yet. In fact quite the opposite has been my experience. I have a simple philosophy regarding aging. Whenever I hit a new milestone such as the age of thirty I look at it as a time of renewal and change. Change in a few ways, one I get to say I’m in my thirties, have no children that I know of, I have a steady job that affords me to look at porn as often as I feel is non habit forming and I am now aware of how much I have left to learn. To cope with the big 3 – 0 I have come to embrace the fact that I did the twenties thing for ten fucking years! It’s about damn time I moved onto to something new! For me it is like eating the same steak every day, yes it is tender and tasty but how long does that last before it is just a piece of dead flesh burned by a fire carelessly tossed on a plate and rendered monotonous by the decade of same ol thing? My twenties afforded me some amazing experiences; I learned what it was to blackout drunk and to wake later puking in someone’s rose bushes. I’ve learned the joys and shame of one night stands. Some of them are memories to get me through the cold nights and others cause a few cold nights due to the sheer terror of knowing what I’ve woke up next too. By the way I have also learned from those mistakes and haven’t made one of them in a quite a while. I learned that working drunk is not nearly as fun when you are twenty nine as twenty one. It’s amazing what eight years of drinking will do to damage a liver to the point that it actually becomes a living entity that has the capability to try to murder you and also telepathically say “fuck you, ya fucking asshole” for trying to keep up drinking with college students in their sophomore year. I’ve learned the pleasure of having a woman who can actually hold a conversation beyond the typical “what Slutney Spears doing at some award show”. I’ve also learned that there is a reason that young women prefer older guys, I’ve seen some of the guys in their early twenties out there at the bar. They are fucking idiots! I’ve also learned not to hold my tongue, refraining is not something I have become incapable of, I simply choose not to. I thought that today I would venture through my twenties and highlight a few things that I’ve learned and how I learned them in the last ten years

May 2, 2000
I reached the torturous age of twenty, I am too young to legally buy alcohol but feel like I am an adult and should be given the right to drink as much booze as my liver will allow before it kills me! I was attending college, occupied my time between classes and working for a call center that I had been at for over two years. This proved to be the time when I learned that you can go three days without sleep and function, but after about the seventy hour mark things get real fuzzy. Not fuzzy in the good way, I mean fuzzy in the fall asleep and not wake up for a day kind of fuzzy and then feel drunk for the following day. I learned that one can’t smoke too much pot as well. It just isn’t humanly possible, though I tried desperately in an attempt to be the first person to O.D. on marijuana. The only thing I was able to do was give myself the worst case of black lung possible. I’m sure I will develop cancer from the tar that is now permanently lodged in my airways. It is amazing how the human body can function after the abuse a twenty year old does to him self

I remember about this time I had the encounter that first excused me from attending church (told to get the fuck out and burn in hell) for posing the questions of Jesus’ ability to know all things? Whether or not he lied to the crowd gathered at his ascension? I posed that if Christ said to the followers there that they would not taste death before he returned to bring judgment on the world and he has yet to come back, does that make him a liar? The minister politely disagreed with my quest for truth and asked me to seek salvation elsewhere. I should have been hurt by being rejected from a church I had grown up in, but I’m the guy who at the age of nine was hoping to see Jesus come back as a zombie. I got over it pretty quick to say the least. Also this was the year that Coldplay hit the radio stations here in the U.S. If my life was to have a soundtrack it would be full of coldplay that year.

May 2, 2001
Twenty One, ah I remember the…. Wait no I don’t. I remember being pulled from my office by my friends and co-workers and got blackout drunk had sex with some girl I still have no clue was or what she looked like because my dumb twenty one year old ass grabbed my clothes, stumbled over the twenty some people in this barn house in the middle of the country to get in my car and drive home before anyone woke up. I passed back out once I made it home and was rudely woke by a fucking asshole asking if were dead or alive. Cops… gotta love them right? Once I answered my door hung-over and naked I was informed that I was not dressed appropriately to have a conversation with an officer of the law. I said OK and shut the door; the cop didn’t like that at all and started beating on it again. When I returned (still naked) he told me I needed to put some clothes on and answer a few questions. I did as he requested simply out of fear, being twenty one drunk or hung-over is a lot like being twenty drunk or hung-over, you are just not sure if the cop is going to take you to jail or not. The questions were simple “how did you get home last night?” I had a flash of brilliance and responded “I didn’t get home last night, it was this morning!” Of course being impaired as I was it didn’t register that the cop didn’t care when I got home but how I arrived at my home. “Mr. Garton, did you drive yourself home?” I was catching on and had the cognitive reasoning to say “I don’t think so sir, I’m actually very certain I didn’t drive. I was way too drunk after my birthday party and I’m sure one of my friends took me home at my request.” At least that is what I thought I said, turns out it sounded more like “I don’t know. Maybe I walked or something drove me” Since the officer couldn’t charge me with being an idiot in my home he moved on to the next question of “are you alright and were you brought here against your will?” This question tossed me for a loop “what kind of question is that? I live here, why would anyone make me go here against my will?” then it dawned on me, I left and didn’t tell anyone and no one knew where I was. Turned out that I left my cell phone at the barn and when they tried to call me I didn’t answer. My friends figured I stumbled off drunk and got hit by a car or something. It was nice of them to call when they couldn’t find me, but made for an awkward day of being pant less in front of a cop. This was the norm for my twenty first year of life. Of course we all experienced a shift in the paradigm of the safety structure we lived under after 9\11. I remember being on campus at my little college in Oklahoma sitting in the student union skipping a class to study and sober up when I watched the second plane crash into the towers in NYC. A sobering moment if ever there were one, I know we each can recall where we were at that moment. I remember thinking that if there were a god then he was responsible for the foolishness of his children's petty grievances. In 2001 the Lillywhite sessions from Dave Mathews Band never left my CD player that whole album is intrinsically linked to that year, though most would remember that year for a little song called The Space Between.

May 2, 2002
My twenty second year wasn't anything to write home about, of course home wasn't that far away as I had yet to escape the black abyss that is my home town. But I furthered my education and developed a few key talents during that year. First was the art of learning to accept I wasn't cool and that in itself was evidently cool enough to be considered cool. For instance, I spent that year trying to find my voice, be it in written form or through work. Neither of which proved to create a life of riches or fame. Looking back I am grateful for that lack of any fame or riches as I know now that I would most assuredly be dead by my own foolishness. Most likely cause of my demise would have been a nasty case of some undiscovered venereal disease which they would have likely named after me. Though as I sit and think about it, contracting the Adam doesn't sound as bad as catching the Garton. Though neither offer a sense of dread as I think about it, but I am sure there is some woman out there who would beg to differ due to my drunken stupidity from this year. Yes even then I was an asshole who couldn't keep his mouth shut, but back then it took a couple drinks to loosen up my biting vernacular. If there were a single thing I could say I learned in 2002 would be that being single and locking yourself away with a stack of jacks cups for sleepless night after sleepless night playing S.O.C.O.M. For the PlayStation is not healthy for anyone. Also G. W. started a war on terror then ordered the forces into Iraq for a short operation that we still haven't cleaned up. We all were learning to live with a shattered concept of the power of America and the security of our country. I remember driving past the oil refinery in my hometown thinking that it could be a target simply for the production levels it puts out of oil refinement. Fears of a young man, though rational to a point they were unfounded. Later I did learn that after 2001 the security at that location underwent major changes. In 2002 I discovered my love affair with Scotch and also my hatred of the fiery substance. I loved it, but it was much like a jealous lover, if you stopped paying attention to it then came back around she reached up and tried to rip your nuts off. As for music for that year well, I went through a Matchbox Twenty phase but often found myself listening to the Everyday album from Dave Mathews.

May 2, 2003
I felt like I had hit my stride when I was twenty three, I had found a balance in my life and also had discovered that I had learned how to drink at a pace and not end up a blithering idiot incapable of speaking to anyone. I was taking a break from college before looking to move off to whatever college might accept a social reject in the form of an ex home school-er who had a taste for booze and bad choices in women. That short break turned into a much longer than I had anticipated, no others fault but my own. I have learned a great deal from that time of life. Most importantly is that I learned I shouldn't have stopped attending classes as I have found it is ever increasingly more difficult to return for a different degree the older I get. Most importantly I returned to my religious roots and found that not only had I walked away for reasons of angst at the time but also because as I had time away from a religious diet of dogma I found a voice of reason in science and logic that dashed and crushed the ideology of the church I grew up in. I started my quest of discovery of the religion for “me”, I looked at topics ranging from Astrology to Zen. All of these failed a logic test in the sense that none of them made any sense logically in their claims of a god or enlightenment. Though to this day I still do embrace some of the teachings I found in Zen. Peace for me came that year when I realized that I wasn't going to hell as there is no hell to go too after I die. Oh sure I had a slight concern that I wouldn't get into the pearly gates, but I thought about that and realized I was simply being foolish for thinking I would have any consciousness after death. When I slapped myself and realized that I would simply cease to exist or worry then breathed a sigh of relief. I knew then that ahead of me was a lifetime of discovery and a quest to learn and to leave the world better than I found it. I think it was in 2003 that I started to become the person I am today and that in my early twenties I found myself not loathing myself for asking the forbidden question of “why” but embracing it and chasing stardust in the hope of catching a bit of knowledge falling from it. In October of that year my family suffered dreadful news and learned my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Things changed after that, death became real and it had a face. I learned what so many have when a family member of import comes to the end of their life. I learned that year that it was “OK” for a man to cry and feel all the emotions that came with the experience of watching a parent struggle with a terminal illness. I remember the song Gravedigger being played a lot that fall.

May 2, 2004
Loosing my father at the beginning of the year was an isolating experience for me. So much so that a girl whom I had started to care about but chose not to act upon tried to approach me after I returned to work. To this day I couldn't tell you what I said to her when she asked if I was alright. She told me later that it wasn't very nice. We started dating not long after that, she had a daughter and I fell in love and to this day I am still in love. Not with the girl I was dating at that time, but her daughter. If ever I was to ask for a child of my own I hope to have a connection like I share with that little girl. By my twenty fourth birthday I was more than ready for a change, which would come about before the end of the year. I would agree to take a leap of faith and move in with my girlfriend but it would be in Wichita Ks. I will never say I regret moving there, I found a town I wished to call home while living there. I truly had one of the worst and best years; I had lost a father but gained a family. But like all great loves that too wouldn't last, but we did make it past 2004. I had settled down, was learning what it truly meant to be a man and provide for people I cared about. I shared my income, food and bed. I learned more during the time spent with those two people than I had in the twenty three years prior to that. I learned what it was to struggle to pay the rent, to keep the phone on and how to juggle bills like I a pro. I also discovered a taste for wine which I enjoy now more than scotch. In 2004 I fell in love with the band The Killers and can't explain it as I typically don't listen to pop music. I also discovered how much I hated Los Lonely Boys

May 2, 2005
As much as 2004 went from bad to good, 2005 started out extremely good but faded into one of the worst times of my life. I rediscovered how bad it can be to break up when you are still in love with someone who isn't in love with you anymore. I had been through that once before when I was nineteen. Yes I was one of those dumb asses who knew he had found “the one” while in his teens. Though I never assumed that I had found the one at the age of 24 I did start to think that I could see myself with this person for an extended time. That wasn't to be the case, quite the opposite would come to be true. Breakups suck, we all know that so I won't bore you with the details, but let’s say this set the spark for what would become my world tour. I met two people who that to this day are dear friends; one friendship was based out of the fact that we both shared the same ex. The other is the friendship I discovered in one of the sweetest girls to have ever stole pajamas from me. I would say that I learned acceptance and independence, all the while listening to Greenday's American Idiot album which I will argue with anyone is one of the best pieces of music in the last decade.

May 2, 2006
Girls, girls, girls, is the only thing I can say about that year. I learned time management, how to lie and what a good cover story entails due to the fact that inside of three months I had sixteen different girlfriends and yes many of them were at the same time. I would say that I went crazy during this year, I had no regard for anyone's feelings and by the end of that year I had used a rubber duck in ways that no one ever should. But I did learn a valuable lesson in that nothing is beyond reach if one merely stretches beyond his comfort zone and into the danger of the unknown. I learned also that I didn't really have a soul at this point due to the douche bag I had become out of the pain of a nasty breakup. I did have a lot of fun and will not apologize for that. Many of the stories on this blog are from the 2006 and 2007 time frame. Due to that I will not linger here. By years end I had found that no matter how many people are around you, that if you don’t care about them or they about you loneliness is all you have. I found Blue October fit much of my mood that year along with I Hate Everything About You by Three Days Grace.

May 2, 2007
At twenty seven I had a breakdown regarding my age. I think this is why thirty has come so easily. For a lack of a better expression, I freaked out when I turned twenty seven. I realized I was no longer in my early twenties, nor in my mid twenties. I was officially of the age that I needed to take responsibility for myself and make something that resembled a life. That thought scared the shit out of me and my liver paid the price. More drinking occurred and that old “fuck you, ya asshole” was screamed loud and clear to me on more than on one occasion. By the end of 2007 I had rediscovered my brain and had started to cement my ideas on religion and was learning to accept that I was not merely an agnostic passivist, but an atheist with strong feelings against organized religion. I was at that time still formulating my stance and learning more regarding the historical facts and learning I was not alone in my postulating that religion is both false and harmful to the furtherance of intelligent thought. Though I kept these things to myself as at that time I knew of none of my friends who shared my desire to delve into the rabbit hole that is the argument of religion. The years soundtrack was both Foo Fighters and Dave Mathews Live At Radio City with Tim Reynolds. Foo Fighters for the connection I feel they still show in their music to Nirvana and Dave… well by this point his music permeated my life.

May 2, 2008
I had settled into a rhythm and had a steady girlfriend from the outset of 2008. Things were good on the romance side, I had reconnected with a girl whom I shared common interest and rediscovered the joy of actually having someone that would be around beyond the next morning. The area I was unhappy with was my work. I had bought into a contract with FedEx and was working myself to death. The money was good, but left little time for my other interest including a girlfriend who happened to live eighty miles away. So in a disgruntled state of mind I escaped and was invited to move in with my girlfriend. I know what you are thinking.. “did that dumbass not learn from the last one he moved in with?” the answer to that question is OF COURSE NOT! I moved back to Oklahoma leaving behind a town I loved but for a girl I was sure would be worth it. Six months later I was moving into a one bedroom apartment in the same complex I lived in back in 2000. Yep in eight years I had made it full circle back to the same freaking place I started out at in the beginning of the decade. What did I learn from 2008? You can't date a semi religious girl and be an outspoken atheist and expect it to work. I don't think the religion problem was the source of our demise though I know it didn't help any. A great deal is learned when you live with a person. Like sometimes they are content to live their lives just as they are and have no intention to ever move beyond their myopic world. For her it works, for me it does not. I discovered that I am not content with the micro world that is in northern Oklahoma and will push on until I move to other things in other places with new people. Coldplay returned to my audio system with Viva La Vida, an amazing album start to finish.

May 2, 2009
At twenty nine I was comfortable with who I was and what my opinions are. I started this blog and have experienced a very positive response to it and continued to be a voice of logic versus mythology in beliefs for my friends and those who have a curiosity regarding what they believe about religion. I grew comfortable in my own skin and traveled more in one year than I had in the previous five combined. I have been chastised for being harsh on religion, I've been called an asshole for brutal honesty and I have learned that I don't contain a desire for approval from anyone. If there is anything I learned it is this, not to apologize for who you are. Embrace who one is, all of ones self, the scars of broken hearts, the joy of love and the agony of loosing someone close to you. The good, the bad and everything in between. I also learned that one can always change if you so chooses. Though often that change is subtle and takes years to birth. If I had been asked when I was nineteen if I would be a staunch atheist who would view religion as a plague and would openly oppose religion in every form. I would have laughed, but replied that I might change my views in the future, but I would be sure there must be some higher power. I look back at that young man and grin because even then I knew that what I had was a false hope and a fairy tale, nothing more. My twenty ninth year of life was one filled with Dave Mathews Band Big Whiskey Album. Through this last decade I have to say that Dave Mathews has provided more music and comfort than any other source of art for me. He has provided a soundtrack for my life and continues to do so with thoughtful and quirky music that regardless my mood I can listen and find myself forgetting the stresses of life and identifying with his lyrics.

If you have made it this far you are a brave person who has far too much time on their hands and should be ashamed of reading this when you could be spending it finding out more about yourself. I encourage you to look back over the last ten years and see who you were and who you are today. You will be surprised by the changes you have made in your life in that time frame. I leave you with this one thought. In all one does, seek to do no harm but only good. For in doing good we build an immortal legacy that will outlast our mortal coil.