Today is the first day of the rest of your life
I’m in line at the National Center for Life Change. I have my ticket, the little number I pulled from the machine like at the DMV. The DMV looks modern compared to this place. I think I’m lost in a time vacuum. I have it tight between my fingers so I don’t lose it. I think I only get one. What if they close before I get to the window? Will my ticket be valid tomorrow morning? Will I then be further along in the queue? Do I only get to come here once in my life? What if the change I request isn’t the one I want? Lots of people here.
I wonder how it works. Is it like an interview? How are they going to change my life? Zap me with electrodes? Whisper voodoo in my ear? I don’t see anyone going into interview rooms. I don’t really hear people even talking. Are they specialists? Doctors? Neurosurgeons? Yoga instructors? Who can really change me? What do they know that I don’t? I guess that’s why I’m here.
Oh, I’m supposed to fill out a form. Didn’t see that. Let’s see. Question one: “Who do you want to be?” Whoa. Hmm. Geez, what happened to first name, last name, zip code? Take it easy guys. I thought they were going to help me with that one. I thought that’s why I was here. I wonder if we can talk through the questions at the window. I don’t see anyone talking at the windows. Hmm, all alone on this one. Do they mean a person I’d like to be like? Like George Clooney? I don’t even know George Clooney. Just seems like a cool guy. Yeah, probably not. Maybe Morgan Freeman. Who do I want to be? I am who I am, how’s that going to change anyway? How much can someone really change? Especially SO late in life like I’m looking for.
I smile to myself at little age joke as I know I’m not THAT old and I have time to make changes in my life so I can become that person I’m supposed to be. I have time. I can do it anytime. Any day now. Sure, anytime. Isn’t that what addicts say? “I can stop whenever I want.” I can make these changes whenever I want. So when is that going to happen? When is then? I guess that’s why I’m here today. Today must be the day. I have my ticket. I have my ticket so it must be good. I’m ready.
OK, OK, maybe I’ll skip that question and move onto the others. Oh, only one more. Short form, this is going to be easy. “How do you plan to become that person?” If I knew that, I wouldn’t be here! C’mon, really? Fine, I’ll give it a shot. I suppose I have to put some effort into this. Nothing is going to come from nothing.
I think I’m moving up in the line. People are leaving from the windows. Do they look changed? Are their lives altered? How would I tell? I don’t know what their lives were like before so how would I know if anything had changed. I guess it wouldn’t really change your exterior anyway. What will it change? My brain, my memory, my philosophies, dreams, hopes, likes and dislikes? If it changes those things, will I be the same person? I really don’t know what they’re going to do at the window, but I’m getting more skeptical about this whole place.
I don’t want to be transformed into someone else. Not to the point where I’m not the same person. I just want … what is it that I want? Is it possible to just change a little bit? Or is it all or nothing? Maybe I should have done a little more research. I’m moving up in line. It seems like it’s going faster.
The line at the parking fine payment place seems to go really fast. The line at the ice cream shop seems to go really slowly.
Are the changes reversible? Just a few little changes. What would they be? What about my life is it that I want to change? What is it about me that I want to change? Who do I want to be? Maybe a bit more of the guy I was when I was younger. Who was that guy? He was the guy I am now, but without, well, responsibilities. There’s probably a definition somewhere that says that age brings responsibility.
From the outside, my life must appear pretty close to perfect. So why am I at the DMV of life change? Is it just the old The Grass is Always Greener?
I don’t want to lose my past. I don’t want to lose who I am. I’m not sure I want to change the future. Or maybe I don’t want someone else to change my future. Hmm, if they don’t do it, who’s going to it? I just want to change a bit where I’m going.
I’m almost to the front. Am I chickening out? Or am I figuring it out? I want more of some things and less of other things. How can I accomplish that? Maybe if I knew what the some things and the other things were. I do know, I just need to think about them a minute. I probably have about a minute left. If I don’t do it, they’re going to do it for me. They might not get it right.
More of what I like to do and less of what I don’t like to do. Within reason, of course. So what do I like to do? I think that’s another department. I smile at my joke on bureaucracy. My life is a bit bureaucratic. I need to run it more like an entrepreneur and less like the DMV.
So what’s the difference between an entrepreneur and the DMV? Maybe a DMV is decision by committee. I’m guilty of debating with me, myself, and I. I think I know what to do. I think I even know how to get there–or maybe at least where I’m heading and one of several paths to get there. Or to take that first step in the general direction. So what’s going to get me going? Is it the person behind the window?
I’m there. I’m at the window. There’s a person, a sharp-dressed woman, looks intelligent, probably helpful, probably insightful. She doesn’t say anything. I have my ticket in my hand. I’m probably supposed to give it to her. I hand it over.
“I’m good, actually.” I say. She looks at me, somehow knowingly. She doesn’t say anything. She probably knows me more than I do. Maybe not.
I give my head a tiny little acknowledging nod and if I had a hat, I would have tipped it to her. She gives a Mona Lisa smile and I turn to go. I know what to do.