What Really Matters

I have sat among my peers, who have grown up in structured homes with mothers that insist upon excellence, fathers that value social normality, and who have developed with an understanding of a stable bank account. I have sat among these peers, and consider myself so fortunate to have grown up with Mother, who insisted upon excellence, but whose impulse and insanity brought wild adventure, terror, and unexpected joy into our lives. Fortunate that I did have a father so briefly who valued social normality, but who himself was only a normal alcoholic, proving to me that normal is not always well, and that “abnormal” can be accepted. I consider myself fortunate that I have not grown into my own shoes with the understanding of a stable bank account, but, rather, an experience of life without, and just how that life can be so much more. 
I have sat among such peers in classrooms, pretending to learn about realistic concepts that I don’t care about, but now, I sit among family, and old family friends- gathered to mourn the loss of one dear and young. In polite terms, he was eccentric. Quite loud, often disruptive, but never pompous and only longing for the bond of love that we all search for and remember in melancholy nostalgia. As I sit with these people, I laugh at myself. Feeling so foreign, thinking myself so different-living away, trying to find creative expression because there’s no one to relate to, when all this time, my aunt’s home, where we have all gathered, is one of the only places where I am myself. And of course it would be. This is the place where I have, for a great amount, grown up- where I have become myself. This is Hotel California, yet is also where the Gypsy lives, and where I find the floor that I love.
I have sat among such peers, and I sit now with family and old friends, but when I sit alone, I wonder who I am. What mood I am to take on without the reference of another person. During these times of solitude, I am often restless. Too much coffee, too many cigarettes, and wasted gas driving around listening to one more last song for hours instead of studying. I consider the burden of love, of memories, of pain resulting from- all worth or all in vain, I wonder.
I have, even if with a learned tendency towards irrational impulses, all of my lacking in mathematics, and journey for individuality, achieved the very basics of what may be called success. My own place of shelter, mode of transportation, and steady source of income. I have relatives more than twice my age who cannot say the same. And I am not satisfied.
I am not satisfied because I have, although to a low quality, achieved all three main objectives in life. Car, job, house. Perhaps improvements await me in regard to all, but even if this be the case, I am unsatisfied because I refuse to be finished living my life. I am not ready to hang up my coat and sit down at the grown up table with vodka as my only saving grace of humor. I am unsatisfied because none of these “achievements” really matter.
What really matters, says I with not two decades of life yet lived, nor perhaps more than one real heartbreak, and with no desire to list my tragedies to prove my thoughts valid- what really matters, is anything that is nothing, which, we all know, is everything that was left to Janis from Bobby. What really matters is not a price tag, but the symbolism or sweet reassurance of closeness that a gift brings. Having coffee at any hour, in the silence that is understanding. Waking up in their arms when you didn’t fall asleep in them. All of the unsaid words that are known anyway. And not a single thing with any monetary value-, these are things that really matter.
Never swayed by the ideals of the ideal, yet acknowledging my roots and upbringing, I set forth on this trek of life unabashedly singing to my ill-tuned content, smiling for all the world to see my crooked teeth, and running towards love in whatever field I may find- because nothing really matters.

-Levi Cain