My cousin came by to visit recently. I hadn't seen him in about two years since our little family reunion. I was in Vegas at that time doing "Sean things" and had come back to NYC to see my sister and her family who were in town from Tokyo. Since we were back, I guess my family decided to have a little meetup. It was cool. I saw a lot of folks I hadn't seen in a while and a few friends came over and I went out to gt drunk at The Rub after. So, basically, a normal summer Saturday for me at home.
But, anyway, back to my older cousin. He came there with my aunt and I talked to him a minute about the usual stuff while I was on the grill and drinking beer. It was kind of hazy (I WAS drinking loads of beer)but I do recall that he was married and I believe working as or with bounty hunters, which, to be honest, is pretty normal for my family outside of the whole married things. I was happy as long as he was happy and he seemed like it.
Flash-forward to now. He comes into town with a new job doing promotional things for Atlantic Records and separated from his wife. He is very happy and is part of the work for the Jay-Z tour. I'm happy for dude but it brings up a strange thought for me.
This guy was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and his parents pretty much kept him away from me, my brother and our other cousins when we were really small because either we lived on a bad block (which was very true) or we were bad influences (only marginally true). He moved out of state and me and my brother visited for a weekend here and there and for his graduation. Basically, his parents spent an inordinate time trying to take him away from "the street" and the things that go along with that. Fast forward twelve years and you really couldn't tell the difference between us and, in fact, some of the things he is doing now I've passed on already.
This makes me thinking about how I ended up in my current condition, hence the title of this post (step your 1980s New Wave music lyrics game up, kid).
I know logically how I arrived at my current state. It comes down to all the little discussions, smart choices, stupid foul-ups, random partying and every other choice I made. There are of course outside forces at work that could have affected my life more positively in terms of success if I followed them and definitely forces that could have had a HUGE negative effect.
Even with that knowledge I still find myself asking how did I get here. This occurs more frequently when I run into people I haven't seen in a while, which happens very frequently since I'm back in New York. It also happens a lot when I hang out or talk to my friends, most of whom I have known for at least a decade. My friends are highly successful or are on the way to living their dreams. It's always interesting that the same people that you walk along with on the same path can have vastly different endpoints. But, then I realize it's the shortcuts we take, the veering to the left and right, and th branching off to another path that crosses with your original path in the future that makes us truly individual. I share a lot of similar courses with my friends and my brother and have seen a lot of the same stuff. It's the stuff that I have saw on my own and those places and time periods that I have been alone that makes me the person I am right now.
The greater question I have to ask myself is why am I even contemplating this. I mean it's a good philosophical question but the truth behind it is deeper. I ask myself this because, to be honest, I'm not always happy with where I am right now. I can think of other options for myself and compare to the actual reality of my status, they are much better.
My questioning of how I ended up here doesn't come from a negative place. It's a tool that I'll have to keep utilizing to make myself move forward. When I am satisfied or at least content in the moment I tend to stagnate and just "be". After that, something normally occurs to make me unhappy and snap out of that existence and move on to the questioning phase. After that is the decision and action part of my life. I think that is what I am starting a new now. This cycle has always occurred with me and I'm not sure whether it is good or bad. I just know it is here and I deal with it in my way.
I hope one day I won't ask the question of how did I end up here and someone else will ask it of me. I will really smile because on that day I'll know I did what I wanted to, following my own path to my idea of success.