Not long ago I was listening to a podcast interview with John Cheever. John Cheever was an American pilot in the Korean War who decided to leave the service and focus on writing instead. He was probably a good pilot but he became an even better writ- ah shit, it wasn't John Cheever who said this stuff about the sacrifice, what he said in that podcast, which I thought was very profound, was something about sex. This John Cheever story is going to have to wait, then.
But I was listening to a podcast with an author who said the thing I want to pass on, about sacrifice. The author was Chuck Palahniuk on the Joe Rogan Experience. He said, "we all need to sacrifice our youth to something." But before that he and Joe were talking about mastery through apprenticeship and about mentorship.
"Do you remember, An Officer and a Gentleman?" Chuck says to Joe, "Richard Gere has this drunken, y'know, not their dad, and he also has this drill sergeant who is constantly trying to wash him out. And, finally, he reaches the existential crisis of saying, 'you can't throw me out of the service because I have nothing else...my life will amount to nothing unless I can master this thing'. And he's a relatively young man, but it's that existentialist moment where you realize you have to sacrifice your youth for something. You're not gonna live forever...You realize you have to become a being living towards death...you've got to give your life to something."
Why did I tell this story? Because I find myself making the mistake, constantly, of living as though I am not a being marching towards death. That I have time and what's worse, that I don't need to make a sacrifice. That I don't need to give my life to any one thing. But I do. We all do. Moreover, the older we get and the more we narrow our focus, the more we need to sacrifice. But maybe it's not that complicated. It might be as simple as sacrificing whatever else I'm doing for a chance to ride the streak bus again.
And maybe that John Cheever story can't wait, after all...