January was an exciting month. I saw two of my oldest, closest friends get married; and was even lucky enough to participate in both ceremonies. I learned that one of them is expecting a child come May, and was asked to be the Godfather. I also said goodbye to my grandfather, someone who I loved and will miss dearly.
Somewhere in there, there's a meaning to it all. Something about life & death, love & maturity. And, maybe one day, I'll see it. But I don't think it's meant to be fully understood right now. It's one of those things that I should put in my memory and pull out down the line.
But as for the now, therein lie my crossroads.
Now, I've never been one to think life is passing me by. I take it as it comes, at my own pace, as slow or as fast as I damn well please. But lately... there's this feeling that's creeping in, and it's weird. The words coming from my pen are sad, but I'm still having good times. I work a job that I used to enjoy, and now loathe. It's grown increasingly frustrating, and no longer does high stress yield a sense of accomplishment. I mean, I have a God-given gift and a college degree. Why not use them before it does get too late?
My point, I guess, is that these crossroads are not some inner debate trying to decide whether to take action or not. No, it's more about what action to take. And I think that's part of the lesson I can take from January. Life isn't about deciding to take action or not, it's about seizing opportunities and situations. Even if they don't turn out like I hope they will, at least I did something, right?
As former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli said, "Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action."
I know I'm being oddly vague here, forgive me. But with all of this action surrounding me -- friends getting married and having kids, friends working dream jobs, friends moving, friends going to law/grad school -- it's high time I took Andy Dufresne's advice: get busy living, or get busy dying.
I mentioned earlier I was lucky enough to take part in a wedding. Specifically, my good friends Tim and Katie got hitched on January 23rd, and they asked me to give the speech at the reception. I just wanted to share it on here, because it got me a lot of handshakes and hugs at the wedding, and I'm just happy I did right by them and added something to their wonderful wedding.
First of all, let me begin by introducing myself to those of you who don’t know me. I’m T.D., or Tom to those here that know me.
I’ve known Tim since he was yay high, wore big glasses and had a mullet. At the time, I was yay high, wore big glasses and had a rat tail – so we were friends instantly.
To those that do know me, it’s great to see y’all again. And, I know what you’re thinking: you’re sitting there, you see me with a drink in one hand and a microphone in the other and you’re saying to yourself, “Well, this could get interesting.”
Katie, we first met, what? Maybe 5 years ago? Since then I've come to know you to be a beautiful, sweet, caring, immensely intelligent and wonderfully creative person. I wouldn’t have anything else for Tim, you really are what he’s been looking for all along, and I’m so pleased that you see just as much in Tim as he sees in you. And – to use a line Elliot wanted me to use – just know that with Tim, you have a man who will wake up every morning and have one goal: to make you happy.
I have known Tim virtually all of my life, and he’s one of my brothers. Tim, Ben, Elliot and I have shared a ton of great memories (Wafflez!), and we’ve seen him in both good times and bad. And I think I can safely speak for Elliot and Ben, as well as others here today, when I say that, Tim, we’re all just as excited and happy to be here as you are, and we couldn’t be prouder.
I think that the purpose of one of these speeches is to try and put love into words somehow. I'm not sure that’s completely possible or even fair. But, man has tried forever to do it, and I guess I will too. And since I found out I had to give this speech, I’ve had a pretty solid idea of what I wanted to say. But, I needed something to tie it all together, you know?
Unfortunately, being the perennial bachelor I am, I can’t really draw from my own experiences. So I looked to my influences as a writer and person for some guidance. Naturally, I first looked at my favorites authors.
Hunter S. Thompson: love is a weekend trip to Vegas with a trunk full of drugs… Eh, maybe not.
Hemingway: OK… let’s try an author who didn’t have a fondness for guns and booze.
Let’s try someone more modern. Chuck Klosterman: Well, what has he done? He wrote a book titled “Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs” – alright, maybe my favorite authors ain’t the best place to look.
How about movies? Dazed & Confused: love is a bunch of high school kids whoopin’ each other with paddles and having a keg party in the middle of woods. Not so much.
OK, music, it’s gotta be there, there’s a ton of songs about love. What’s my favorite type of music? Country music. You know… let’s just skip that.
Recently, I buried my grandfather, and at his service I was sitting there, trying to make sense of it all. I found myself thinking about my grandmother and him, and how they had this beautiful marriage that lasted well over 50 years, to a number I can’t even remember.
And that is where my inspiration struck me. There has been the best example of love in my personal life. And as I sit and think of my memories of them, I see a lot of them in Tim and Katie. I see the same loving looks, the same comfortableness with each other, the same strength in their relationship.
There it is, that’s it. If one day, I am blessed enough to have kids, that day will come when they ask me: “Daddy, what’s love?” And I won’t need to play them a John Lennon song, recite them a Shakespeare poem, or show them a John Hughes movie.
I’ll say, “look at your Uncle Tim and Aunt Katie, and you’ll know. That right there, that’s love.”
So, here’s to y’all. Here’s to a lifetime and beyond of bliss. Congratulations, I love you both.