The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn't live boldly enough, that they didn't invest enough heart, didn't love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.
No one is adequate to comprehending the misery of my lot! Fate obliges me to be constantly in movement: I am not permitted to pass more than a fortnight in the same place. I have no Friend in the world, and from the restlessness of my destiny I never can acquire one. Fain would I lay down my miserable life, for I envy those who enjoy the quiet of the Grave: But Death eludes me, and flies from my embrace. In vain do I throw myself in the way of danger. I plunge into the Ocean; The Waves throw me back with abhorrence upon the shore: I rush into fire; The flames recoil at my approach: I oppose myself to the fury of Banditti; Their swords become blunted, and break against my breast: The hungry Tiger shudders at my approach, and the Alligator flies from a Monster more horrible than itself. God has set his seal upon me, and all his Creatures respect this fatal mark!
When the last autumn of Dickens's life was over, he continued to work through his final winter and into spring. This is how all of us writers give away the days and years and decades of our lives in exchange for stacks of paper with scratches and squiggles on them. And when Death calls, how many of us would trade all those pages, all that squandered lifetime-worth of painfully achieved scratches and squiggles, for just one more day, one more fully lived and experienced day? And what price would we writers pay for that one extra day spent with those we ignored while we were locked away scratching and squiggling in our arrogant years of solipsistic isolation?Would we trade all those pages for a single hour? Or all of our books for one real minute?
Well, it's true that I have been hurt in my life. Quite a bit. But it's also true that I have loved, and been loved. And that carries a weight of its own. A greater weight, in my opinion. It's like that pie chart we talked about earlier. In the end, I'll look back on my life and see that the greatest piece of it love. The problems, the divorces, the sadness.. Those will be there too, but just smaller slivers, tiny pieces.
So here i sit. A sum of the parts. About a third way down this wonderful path, so to speak. And i've been thinking lately about a friendship that fell apart with time, with distance, and with the misunderstanding of youth. I'm trying not to confuse sadness with regret. Not the easiest thing at times. I dont regret that certain things happened. I understand that perhaps i had a choice in the matter, or perhaps i believe in fate. Probably not, but so far actions as small as the quickest glance to events as monumental as death have pushed me slowly along to right here, right now. There was no other way to get here. The meandering and erratic path was actually the straightest of lines. Take away a handful of angry words, things once thought of as mistakes or regrets, and i'm suddenly a different person with a different history, a different future. That, i would regret. So here i sit. Thinking about a person i once called my best friends. A man who might be full of sadness and regret, who might not give a damn, or who might, just might, remember the future and realize that's where its at.