I had Will Smith in the original aborted 30 for 30. At the time I said I was referring more to the character he played in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air tv show more-so than Willard Smith the actor (yeah that's right Willard is his real name). That all holds up. Everything I said about making every personal interaction with others a free performance is a lesson I wish I paid more attention to today. It's very "carpe diem," and "you never know how much time you have with the ones you love. " Both are sentiments that absolutely saturate the lead up to a 40th Birthday.
Thus far in the countdown it has been pretty straight forward to reminisce, recall fond memories, tell some less than flattering stories about people I haven't seen in 20 years , express some regret that ultimately dissipates "in the grand scheme of things," and let my inferiority complex run rampant as I state the qualities of individuals I aspire to, but will never equal.
That formula doesn't strike the right tone for people with whom I have regular contact and share DNA. And at this point I am down to my nuclear family. Begrudging admiration for a no-nonsense teacher or a tough-as-nails coach seems appropriate. It is not the sentiment I want to engender towards my family. Gratitude is.
Aging and birthdays walk hand in hand with reflection, and reflection can spur regret. But that isn't really the sentiment I want to convey either. Also as the day approaches, I am counting the days and feeling older. That makes for a more somber attitude than the glory day reminiscing earlier in the countdown when my birthday was still months away.
When it comes to my family, I have few if any regrets. I have no complaints. I feel blessed beyond measure. But when I do sit back and look at my family, I do have this strong feeling of just "wishing things were different." I find myself raging against reality as I try to write this. The aspect of my life that I cherish most is my family, and that means it's also the place I have had the highest hopes and expectations. This birthday, as all birthdays ultimately do, forces me to accept life for what it is, not what I want it to be. And nowhere is that more apparent than with my dad.
Of course the entire premise of Dr Fraser Crane is that he is a pompous, self-important, quasi narcissist that actively wants to be highbrow, out of touch with the common man, and yet, it's the common man either in the form of his friends at Cheers, or his callers and patients and family in Seattle that are his salvation. But I tend to turn all that on it's head, and just aspire to be a loveable snob. As if such a thing exists.
Both of my parents came from families of 6 kids each. So that right there says quite a bit about my grandparents. Corralling 6 kids is a challenge in any era ever. The fact that they were able to raise such large families devoid of instances of drugs, crime, or trauma is a credit to them and a blessing for me and all of my fellow grandchildren.
I come from a fairly large extended family. And obviously all my family members are great influences. So to cram them all in I will break it down generational-ly.
Today's post is about all my cousins.
40 Greatest Influences of the last 40 years #11 The Time-Life Singer Songwriter Collection/Classic Rock
So when I have to put my 2 year old down for a nap I would just say "Alexa, play soft classic rock," and usually is serenaded to sleep quite easily. Sometimes Alexa doesn't cooperate and I then just default to "Play the Eagles," because they actually have 2 hours' worth of good music. It's funny my wife busts my chops for listening to the Eagles so much because I always make a big deal out of how I categorically despise country music and the Eagles are often described as Country-Rock. That is only by happenstance, and not design. By design they are a rock band. Don Henly was from Texas but was in a hurry to get the hell out and start a rock band. Glen Frey was from Detroit Rock City and his voice sounds like it even when singing alongside the twangy chords of "Take it Easy" or "Tequilla Sunrise." And the only reason those country chords are there are because Bernie Leadon was on the of the best guitarist in the business but he just happened to be a country western savant. By design they added Felder and Walsh to be a super Rock band. And by design they ventured in disco fusion which should have been their downfall if they were a country band. But it wasn't. Because they weren't. But I digress.
So I was the last to know. I can be pretty oblivious, but even by my standards this was a glaring, incomprehensible oversight on my part. The kind of thing that makes me doubt if I am even capable of perceiving reality.
So for a bout 3 or 4 years I was member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. It was one of the greatest times in my life. I met a lot of great people including my wife there. Unfortunate it was short lived. I didn't have any more faith as Mormon as I did as a Catholic. I get a lot of funny looks about it but never any direct questions, (except for Cody Shelton, he just came at me with the "You did it because of your wife right?").
I talked a little about how and why I joined the church in a interview I did on my friend Seth's Mental health podcast called "Mental." He was interviewing me about my work as a therapist, but he is also really interested in religious deconstruction. Here is a snippet of the interview when I talk about my decison to join the church.
It’s funny, no one who might read this has ever met Garrett. They have no idea who he is. If you are reading this blog it’s probably because you know me. And you know me because we are family. Or we are old friends. Or we went to high school together. Or we worked together professionally at some point. Or you know one of my family members and feel like you know me because we move in small tight knit social circles and my exploits are legendary(ok probably not the last part).
Robin Williams is one of those influences goes influence on me changed over the course of his own life and how it played out.
Initially as a kid in the 80’s, I like most people, was flabbergasted and enthralled with reruns of Mork and Mindy. Crazy, Zany, fun, fun, fun, Mork.m from Ork. The energy and spontaneity were the first great influence on a spazzy little kid like me.