At a certain point after I left New York City to inexplicably put down some roots in the Garden State, after I decided to scale my day-to-day to a new place and new routine, new people and new options, I started thinking a lot about the legacy that our interests and priorities leave with us. This is often little more than self-indulgent introspection, for sure, but when you have some extra commuting time on your hands and most of that is sitting down on a regional train service that makes the NYC subway look like a frenetic cattle car complete with all the physio-fecal smells you come to expect, it's not the worst thing to make an effort to use the time to your advantage. It’s a pretty dumb habit in a lot of ways, most notably because I’m liable to get hung up on certain problems or anxieties at inappropriate times, including times when I'm by no means alone, which makes the whole exercise self-defeating sometimes.
By way of example - which is not needed to illustrate the point but since when is necessity a prerequisite? - this past weekend I went to a small wedding with some old friends and as I navigated the evening with my too-good-for-me wife, the pitfalls for an extroverted over-sharer like myself were everywhere. By the time the after-party kicked into gear, my BAC checking in at a respectable clip and my six foot two inch frame questioning its close relationship with me given my inability to sit still during a Bruno Mars song, I was in a really good place. And when I say good, I obviously mean that I was telling way too many stories about shenanigans both past and present, talking about work way too much and making new best friends that I most surely will never see again. As my too-good-for-me wife is bound to remind me, frequently, people don’t really care about my shit. The friend of the bride did not love me hijacking a conversation to talk about markets and self-interested fucks who ruin our economy, but that’s where my head was at after the handful of Finger Lakes Rieslings, I was having a moment and needed to work through it, and also I totally apologized later and we ended up having a hilarious night and homegirl is on that list of great humans and new best friends that I will definitely forget to keep in touch with.
To put it a different way, introspection is not really a team sport, by its nature, but man do I like to triage my bullshit out in plain view. I totally get that people aren’t necessarily on board, especially when they’ve known me for all of twenty minutes, it’s just that I don’t really care.
You shouldn't smoke these. They'll kill you
Me? I like to put down markers in my memory, emphasizing what’s important and what experiences get earmarked for consideration at some later date. It’s entirely hokey to discuss, yet nevertheless plainly true for me that life is far easier to manage when you place markers into the dirt along your personal timeline and attempt to categorize information in some useful way. Whether laid down in hindsight or in real time, those notches in our history provide a point of reference within the series of stored memories, making it easier to look back and make sense of the progression of time; easier to lean forward with some degree of well-defined perspective on how our past is prologue.
So, I suppose, we choose what matters to us and we likewise choose to put down those markers to help us make sense of those valued portions of our life. We power rank the fuck out of our varied interests and dreams and the varied people and places and institutions we consider our own, and in the end we sort the information into buckets and probably power rank the buckets as well. In the first one you get all the non-negotiables, the stuff you can’t live without, and in the last bucket are the frivolities and dreams and luxuries, and somewhere in between is where the shit gets really complicated.
A bunch of nonsense, non-formative moments can be swept under the rug of our subconscious: the time you chatted up someone at a bar out of boredom; the passing moment on a dance floor during yet another wedding reception of yet another friend/cousin/sibling/child; the 18th time you watched a team you love play a milquetoast field-goal-riddled game against some milquetoast squad from some (as it turns out) usefully pathetic city.
A career, a friendship, a love affair, a family? Your list will be different than mine, but when we rank our priorities, when we decide to carve out space in our journey (or not) for those things and let them impact our days in the short-term (or not), the way we sort through our experiences and internalize a memory or a feeling takes on varying degrees of importance. We remember names of family members and concepts necessary for our jobs and how our spouse smelled the first time our kid fell asleep with us on the couch; we probably don’t remember the name of the guy we bump into sometimes on the train, or the way a friend we see twice a year takes her coffee.
And then we have football.
(And yes, I’m aware that I overthink things. If you’re new here, a hearty welp to you. Welcome to the Jungle, we’ve got fun and games and our teams are basically gout. If you’re not new here, settle the fuck down, and yes that means you Joe Buffalo Wins. I’m sure you have some amazing tweets to ping me with soon, bud, and I’m sure they’ll be really well-phrased.)