we choose between reality and madness

As is evident from the title, I’ve been listening to a lot of Billy Joel lately. Which always brings me back to high school, driving down to Northridge, singing all the way over the grapevine.

High school sucks for everyone, obviously. You live at home with your parents, who are crazy (or maybe that was just my parents), and you don’t have any money and your car breaks down all the time and you’re socially awkward and you have to work and study and worry about college and your future and your friends always have drama and you always have drama, so it’s like a never-ending drama loop. And then you like a boy and then he doesn’t like you and then you make out with someone else at a party anyway, but once you sober up, you don’t really like him, and then you try smoking and it’s just too hot outside to keep it up.

But high school is also wonderful. Your whole life is ahead of you so you can still do anything you want — life full of promise and all that. And you’re not bogged down with the baggage of a million years and you don’t really have all that much responsibility since your job is frying chicken, and you don’t even have a mortgage payment and you’re experiencing everything for the first time and you can hang out and party every night and still keep your 4.0 grade point average.

If not for all the teenage angst, life would be pretty sweet.

Life now, of course, is mostly much better than high school, although the angst never goes away entirely. But at least I know a lot more. I now know that I’ll never have all the answers and I’ll never be perfect or even mostly perfect, or, let’s face it, anywhere in the general perfection ballpark.

And when you’re young, you think you’ll live forever. But the older you get, the more the sense of your own mortality is always lingering there in the background, taunting you, mocking your wasted youth and the quickly passing days (or again, maybe that’s just me). We only get this one life.

But mortality issues not withstanding, getting older isn’t all that bad. I’m a lot more honest with myself, mostly. And I’ve mostly gotten rid of all that insecurity. I mostly know what I’m doing. Adulthood is just full of mostlys, I guess. And more grays than black and whilte.

Some days I choose reality and madness. And sometimes madness does me just fine.

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