Slide that glass down the bar to me, Tavern Keeper. My day has been long, as has my week, my year, my marriage, my divorce, my melancholy and life. Slide that hand-filling vessel of liquid salvation my way, so that it may whisper softly to me that all will be well once I consume it. It will light a comforting fire in my gullet as it soaks into my body, and caress my mind with satin fog as it soaks into my thoughts. Slide that glass of surrender and escape to my waiting palm, even though I realize it is merely shackles and sorrow in disguise. I will hold you blameless for the shame I will wake to, and the disappointment of my loved ones. Slide me that perfect, precious potion, and look on me no more. Perhaps if no one is watching, it will wash me away along with my senses, reason, and pain.
And then I looked in the mirror, and saw a streak of gray in my hair.
I haven’t run a marathon. I haven’t owned a house. I haven’t lived anywhere more than three years since I was 18 years old. Now I’m 33, and I have a streak of gray in my hair.
I haven’t travelled abroad. I haven’t been in a fist fight. I haven’t gotten blackout drunk and woken up in a strange place. I haven’t hitchhiked. I haven’t gone dancing. I haven’t hosted a Thanksgiving dinner. I haven’t taken a cruise, but now I have a streak of gray in my hair.
I haven’t written a book. I haven’t started a business. I haven’t made investments. I haven’t sought my fortune. I haven’t been called by Destiny. I haven’t learned from my mistakes. I haven’t found what I am looking for. I haven’t seized the moment. I haven’t let go of the past. I haven’t blazed a trail. I haven’t heard opportunity knocking. I haven’t picked up the pieces. I haven’t found the silver lining.
But I have looked in the mirror, and under all the years and chances, the delays and obstacles, the stumbling and slacking, the roads not taken, and dreams not pursued…there is a streak of gray in my hair.