Driving home today, I heard Five for Fighting's "Hundred Years," one of my (many) favorite songs. I put the lyrics at the bottom of this entry. The song emphasizes how quickly life passes: 15 years old, 22, 33, 45, half time when you're finally wise, 67, and 99 when one more moment is all there is. The song keeps coming back to 15 when you still have time, when there's no better wish.
I couldn't help reflecting on the song's message. Life at 15 is full of potentials, but it becomes progressively confined as we (intentionally or not) chart our course through the years. Many things are possible but you can't have them all: Aiming for a grand goal means sacrifices of time, money, and other resources often including the sacrifices that others (e.g. a spouse, parent, child) also make for you. Or you make for them! And once you're on your way or have achieved the goal, it's that much harder to achieve a parallel goal. As we grow older our potentials increasingly become actualities: what is. We lose our physical abilities and our life's time even as we (hopefully) gain in knowledge, experience, wealth, and strong integrated connections to others.
We live in a world of limited resources, of edges and comparisons, where the concept of infinite potential can be understood only in a mathematical equation. Change in life is the only constant. I believe an important component of contentment in life is accepting what is, and assessing what truly might be. Yet, this is so difficult not to want what was, or what could have been if only...
"You pays your money, and you makes your choice." Does what we do now, in this world, matter? I believe so. As a wise friend of mine says, our seemingly inconsequential choices can create enormous ripples for ourselves and others, and not (if you believe this, as I do) only in this life. I've often heard old people comment on how quickly their lives have passed. They don't feel any different, although their bodies are feeble.
The soul doesn't age...
Some spinning thoughts as I listen to a song. Live wisely. Seize the day, my dear friends.
** One Hundred Years by Five for Fighting
I'm 15 for a moment Caught in between 10 and 20 And I'm just dreaming Counting the ways to where you are
I'm 22 for a moment She feels better than ever And we're on fire Making our way back from Mars
15 there's still time for you Time to buy and time to lose 15, there's never a wish better than this When you only got 100 years to live
I'm 33 for a moment Still the man, but you see I'm a they A kid on the way A family on my mind
I'm 45 for a moment The sea is high And I'm heading into a crisis Chasing the years of my life
15 there's still time for you Time to buy, time to lose yourself Within a morning star 15 I'm all right with you 15, there's never a wish better than this When you only got 100 years to live
Half time goes by Suddenly you're wise Another blink of an eye 67 is gone The sun is getting high We're moving on...
I'm 99 for a moment Time for just another moment And I'm just dreaming Counting the ways to where you are
15 there's still time for you 22 I feel her too 33 you're on your way Every day's a new day...
15 there's still time for you Time to buy and time to choose Hey 15, there's never a wish better than this When you only got 100 years to live
Since you probably don't have a clue about who I am, let me give you the capsule summary: I'm about to publish my first novel, A Lever Long Enough, about a small military team that travels back in time to film the theft of Jesus' body from the tomb. This book is an adventure story that plays with the possibility of Jesus actually, literally, rising from the dead. It respectfully discusses both sides of a religious topic; I wrote this book because I became fascinated with the really good arguments that support the resurrection. I love tweaking people's unexamined beliefs anyway, and am hoping this book might serve to challenge you wherever you fall on this issue.
In between all of my last-minute publishing duties (correcting a copyedited ms, assembling a list of advance copy readers, spiffing my website, getting nervous that I've missed something), I'm also writing up my findings on story structure, entitled The Story Template. This book came out of my frustration with constructing a novel --> you cannot imagine how many pages of (good) writing I threw out because the story wasn't working. I've taken apart about twenty novels and some films as well, to study in detail just how story is developed. I'm hoping this book turns out to be useful! I want it to be an interactive guide for someone (you!) to start with an unfocused but compelling image or premise for a novel or movie, and end with a solidly structured, scene by scene outline of an original, creative story that you can then write up. You can check out my website for a sampling of my approach to story design at www.amydeardon.com
OK, well that's enough for now. I feel like I'm talking to myself, so if you're reading this please let me know! I'll need to focus on what this blog should discuss; hmm. My strongest areas of interest are science, religion, and story, so this blog will probably be heavy on these subjects although my mind does wander constantly onto various and eclectic topics. I love discussions, so I'm hoping to perk some interest. Some time I'll tell you about my next novel (in progress), a prequel to Lever that takes place on the space station...