Whether I decided what type of life I wanted to live before I was born or decided through a series of choices made over a number years, does it really matter? I suppose if I had the choice to be bound by Fate or chose my life, I would chose to live a life determined by Fate. Otherwise, I would have to accept responsibility of my choices.
For years, I compared my life against the lives of my friends and family. I realized the same pattern appearing again and again in the their lives. It seemed as if they lived the same day, week, or month in a repeating loop. I felt bad for them, looked down on them, and even thought they were stupid. Something had to be wrong with them. At least, that’s what I thought at the time. But, I realized that they didn’t chose their life, just as the major decisions I thought I had made in my life seemed to be worked out by the time I got the chance to act. All the stress I placed on myself while trying to decide what to do was a waste of time ad energy. The things I wanted most in my my life, once I decided that I really wanted them, were simply waiting for me in the right places. College was there, my career was there, my wife was there, my children were there. Does that mean I was powerless? It seems the only decision I ever really had to make was: be alive.
So, was my life was out of my hands? Sometimes it seemed that way. The many distractions were always lying in wait to take me away from my work, not a moment went by that someone close to me failed to suggest “this” or “that” thing we should do, and for the most part, I was able to roll with the punches and dodged the big ones somehow just before it was too late. I don’t know how it all came together.
Maybe I wanted to believe this because it would mean I wasn’t responsible the decisions in my life. It would free me me from the guilt I’ve felt for so long. But, even while it seemed to be possible, I knew it wasn’t true. I knew I was responsible for the things I did and there was nothing I could be ashamed of more than being afraid to face up to my decisions. I could have chosen a different path if I wanted and I probably should have. I could have been a different person if I wanted.
But, I chose to do all the things I did for a reason. I wanted to get all the things I ever wanted, and because of that I’ve had nightmares for most of my adult life. I’ve feared for my immortal soul every time the lights went out and I stood alone crying out to God for some sign that I’ve still got a soul to cry for.
There were times when I claimed responsibility for all the sins I committed only because I meant I was responsible for the good things that happened in my life as well. It sounded shallow and weak even then, but that’s who I was. I wanted to look big in the eyes of some people, but not everyone.
I saw clearly what fame looked like early on and steered clear of it because it was interfering and imposing. A shadowy figure didn’t have to tell me that I didn’t want to be on David Letterman. That was my choice and it was an easy choice.
A pact with the devil wasn’t the reason I kept my career to myself. The people close to me knew what I did and sometimes knew where I went, but only when they needed to know what I was doing. There wa was no good reason to tell everyone what I did and how I spent my days. I chose not to look for adulation or seek out false praise from people who thought they knew me.
I wanted to be able to live in my small town and remain as low key as possible. It was important to me, my wife, my kids, and my own sanity. Everything depended on my ability to be a normal person, and to be able to live a normal life in my home town.
I didn’t want my name in the tabloids, the gossip pages, all the scandal rags. There was a class of people – a sub-human species of man – who lived off other people; the moochers hunt weaker people and eat everything left behind; the leeches attach themselves onto a person and suck the life out of them, usually it is painless; and then there are the parasites who find their way into a person who has achieved a level of success higher than they are capable.
The prospect of these people getting to me or my family and ruining our lives to make themselves rich turned the mansions and bright lights of Hollywood and New York into mausoleums for hollow-eyed corpses and I didn’t want to be part of it. So, if things turned out the way they did simply because I signed my name on the dotted line, that was just part of my life. Not all of it. I’ve done so much more than that single act.