There are few things in our lives that are truly finite.
Of course, that’s patently untrue. For example, there are a specific, quantifiable number of people on Earth.
Go ahead, count them.
If that’s too tall a task, we can limit the scope. What about the number of cars in America? Still too large? Let’s think local – how many stores and carts in Philadelphia sell soft pretzels?
From the perspective of a single person’s experience, those finite numbers are unknowable. We can rely on estimations, aggregate data, and computer projections, but in our lives we’ll likely never know the answers. We’ll never know all of the facts or have all of the money.
The finite will remain infinite.
Two important things happened yesterday.
Around noon, E and I collected her two siblings and one nearly sibling-in-law into our car and drove to New Jersey to attend her step-sister’s wedding. There we met up with my extended clan of in-laws, which includes a pair each of step-aunts and -uncles, all beaming at a storybook beautiful bride.
(We also tailgated with them in the parking lot of a church, but that’s another story entirely.)
About halfway through the reception I was idly texting best-and-worst wedding stories of all time with Nan between speeches when a peek at Twitter revealed that Neil Armstrong had passed away.
I didn’t mention it to our table – I didn’t want to be that guy, reading the news off his phone at the wedding (even if I already was) (sorry, Tal). Later, outside in the parking lot in the fading daylight, I glanced upward to see a slivered moon hanging low across the sky, ready for the sun to cede its place in their nightly ritual.
I wish I could make the moment seem more poetic by saying I thought of Neil, but I didn’t. I was mostly thinking about how days pass so quickly while you’re living them, just like months and years. You live your life and then suddenly the moon is glowing above you and you are almost done being thirty, and you aren’t sure how you got there.
Okay, not you. Me. How I got there. Here.
Sometimes I’m not so certain, but that’s what Crushing Krisis is all about – all twelve years of it, as of today.
Year twelve of CK has been a huge year of my life.
I turned 30. I was featured in Jump Philly magazine. I fronted a full, four-piece rock band for the first time. I was promoted to being the most senior individual contributor in my department. E and I were interviewed for CBS Philly. I visited Las Vegas. I began editing my first novel as a member of an Author’s Club. I became a regular contributor to another blog.
I went on my first road trip to celebrate Gina’s birthday. I managed the communications for one of the biggest events in Philly for its biggest year of all time. I found myself the leader of a wedding band. I completed my collection of every X-Men comic, ever.
Not every notable moment was a big one. We survived Hurricane Irene, mostly unscratched. I interviewed Philly art star Britt Miller. I delivered a dramatic reading about the morning after.
I reviewed a slew of DC’s New 52 debut comics, part of a rare “post every day” month at CK. I recorded songs from the first third of my lifetime, including a cover of Vogue with an emotional essay attached. E and I took home a band for the night. I attended a funeraland then visited bro in his first apartment.
I explained how bigots should not be allowed to like X-Men. We bought a firm new bed. I wrestled with the monsters in my life. I recorded a video confession about my obsession with coasters. E got drunk at The Muppets and could not help me identify a lost song. I shared my OCD issues with dirty feet. I mused on how Taylor Swift is like (and unlike) The Beatles. I reviewed the best of X-Men from 2011.
E dreamt about zombies. I speculated about dead aliens being removed from our plane from Vegas to Philly. I re-watched the X-Files. I reviewed Madonna’s new LP, track-by-track. Gina taught me an Iron Maiden song. I broke the first comprehensive news about Marvel’s non-reboot. We spent time with our new old friends Chris and Courtney. I saw Fiona Apple, as I have once after each of her albums. I was on vocal rest for two weeks.
There are well over a million words on CK. To you they might seem infinite – more than you’ll ever read. They’re infinite to me too, but in a different way – I’m never certain how many more of them I have in me.
As always, I struggled with wanting to post more – constrained both by privacy and time. Week after week I planned seven days of posts, but I rarely wrote past a Wednesday.
As a result, I missed recording many details of my life. I did not write about every Arcati Crisis rehearsal and show. I did not share every new thing I am crushing on. I did not describe the excitement of talking to E about her new career as a Software Engineer at a local start-up. I never finished a post about my first photo shoot as a member of Filmstar.
I never made the post about how I wore a hood for weeks after Trayvon Martin’s murder. I did not blog about a brief depression this spring. I forgot to detail E’s riotous birthday party, and the amazing new friends we have in our lives. I didn’t discuss joining the board of Social Media Club Philly.
I have yet to write the first post of my epic re-read of every X-Men comic in the order they were written. I didn’t talk about the zeal of seeing my favorite band, Garbage, back on stage. I totally skipped out on recording my exploits with Nan at the 140 Conference in New York.
Why didn’t I record all of those moments and feelings? Because, if there is one thing in our lives that is finite, it’s time. We might waste it – pass it with idle distractions – but it’s the one thing that lies plainly charted and steadily consumed. There is no more of it to discover, and none of it truly lost. There are only moments forgotten, unrecorded and unremembered.
Back to the wedding, and the moon.
The distance from where you sit reading this right now to the surface of the moon is finite – and not finite like the people in the world or the soft pretzels in Philadelphia. It’s knowable. Measurable down to the very centimeter.
Except, it seems pretty infinite to you, doesn’t it? I know it does to me. It’s not a distance I can use anything in my life to define or describe. It’s not a place I’ll likely ever go. Yet, some people on this planet understand the distance perfectly, because they have not only measured it, but traversed it to stand on the surface of that sphere that looms above our heads every night.
One less person now.
Then there is the wedding. Not exactly a harbinger of the infinite. I’ve been to a lot of weddings – I had even at the point I started writing this blog twelve years ago.
What I didn’t have back then was siblings. I was still a year away from from moving in with Erika and Lindsay, and further from meeting E’s sister and brother. I had Gina, but we had yet to truly explore the depth of our connection to each other through life and music.
I was alone, and that solitude seemed infinite. The idea of marriage, and later of knowing a fraternal and sororal love so deep that I would beam back at them on their wedding day, was a concept so remote at to seem infinitesimal – just like the surface of the moon seems to me today.
There is so much in life we’ll never never know or do that it’s easy to define ourselves with that negative space. I will never know everything. I will never have all of the money. I will never play my songs for every person living in Philadelphia
That list of nevers stretched even further twelve years ago, and if I didn’t have a blog it would not be so easy to understand how I have expanded to know and do so much more than I ever thought possible.
No one should aspire to simply be an outline of the space that contains them. Better to wish to expand your life in every direction to find new knowledge, experiences, and family. New objects in space. Because the one thing we know we will run out of – the only thing that truly contains us – is time.
Thank you for being a part of my journey through time and space, and for reading about it again and again. You are part of the infinity I once thought untouchable that is now tangible. Every word that you read expands the boundaries of my life a little further.
Thank you, and happy birthday to this.