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By Casey ____

as a boy i used to obsess what seemed like forever about being happy in

life. i used to worry myself sick about living miserably for any

significant amount of time. i guess this started when my father was

subject to an untimely death. one can not realize how much something

like that can put a six year old boy's life into perspective.

anyone could be taken at any moment in time, including the most powerful,

strongest, smartest superhero in the universe... my daddy.

okay, so we have established my mad dash at trying to be happy in

everything that i am made to experience.

this secret pact with myself kept me blissful and very proud of my life

until about a year ago. you see, the problem is that i really wanted

control of my life, but what happened was that my life became controlled.

this is a very dangerous thing, and it seems to happen to almost everyone.

you grow up, get a job, become responsible, then everything like sleeping,

eating, sex, time with friends, and alone time become this balancing act,

and not always will these pleasures and necessities be dealt their correct

importance. this is unfair to yourself. i personally believe that this

could be dangerous. as once there was this urgency to enjoy life, now

exists a need to retain order and subconsciously create a monotony that

becomes you. at the trough of this downward spiral into a hellish

existance, i accidentally did something that has set me back on course to

living a fruitful life. i visited my father's grave. it was a rainy

saturday, a normal work day for me. i went from store to store like i

always do. as i passed the cemetary where my father rests, i ignored it,

as usual. all day i kept thinking about going back, and all day i fought

my desire to go to my father's resting place. finally, i could not take it

anymore, so i turned the car around and went. standing out in the rain, i

watched the gravestone, as if something was going to happen to it. i saw

my father's name. it read 'james leslie ______' . i snickered at the thought

of him looking down from above seriously pissed off that the stone

did not read 'jimmy'. nobody called him james. then something frightened

me. it seems that i forget how young he was when he died, and how old i am

getting. i looked at the stone. 'death: march 14, 1983'. i did the math.

he was thirty-eight years old when he died. what if this were me? most

of my life would have already passed me by. am i happy with what i have

done? can i look back on my life and be thankful that i truly lived my

life to it's extent? right then and there i realized that i had wasted

too much time just existing and not enough time experiencing. you see,

people have to realize how abstract time really is. someone can live for

eighteen years and take more out of life than an eighty year old did.

don't get me wrong, i would much rather live to eighty. it is yet another

pact that i have with myself. i feel like i owe it to my future children

to be with them when they get older. my dad did not make it very far, and

if he knew what kind if trauma it put us through he would have taken

better care of himself. of course, in all fairness, he had no idea that he

was going to die. nobody did. i do not remember much about my early childhood,

but one memory sticks out. it is me waking up and going into my

parents bedroom to see my father in pain. i asked if he could go play with

me. my mother told me to go back to bed and that my dad was sick. that was

the last time that i ever talked to my father... the last time he ever

heard my voice.