I don’t know whether this makes me unspeakably morbid or unspeakably sentimental or just plain unspeakable, but I spend a fair amount of time thinking about what individual moments in my life might look like from the boozy, weary, foggy perspective of a 75 year old, toothless Nathan Rabin, or a Nathan Rabin who has lost everything and spends his golden years wandering in and out of sad bars, a figure of pity wherever he goes.
I’ve been doing this for a long time. When I was a kid, continuously seeing the longview was a defense mechanism. I did not want to live in the moment because the present was too painful for me. So I continuously imagined what my life as a group home boy, or mental patient, or broke latchkey kid living with his depressed, unemployed single father would look like from a safe, optimistic distance of ten years, or twenty years, or Christ, it really is about thirty years now since I was an eleven year old overflowing rage towards everyone and everything.
But this endless, lifelong contextualization is also a byproduct of writing a bunch of memoirs about my life (The Big Rewind, You Don’t Know Me But You Don’t Like Me, 7 Days In Ohio as well as my upcoming My Painful Goiter, a boldly personal, confessional book about my goiter) in violent defiance of the public’s intense disinterest in said life, and then starting a blog to further satiate the public’s non-existent appetite for the down low on all of the scintillating developments of the Nathan Rabin Movement.
I think about what the present will look and feel like to the future me most often on weekends. Because weekends are reserved for my family and consequently the times when I feel most joyful and most alive. Spending time with my two and a half year old son Declan, my dog Ghostface and my wife, I find myself thinking, on a fairly constant loop, “These are the glory days. These are the days you’re going to want to always remember and treasure because the happiness you feel now, luxuriating in the happiness and contentment of your family, that is a true, lasting happiness, not the brittle, ephemeral, illusory faux-happiness of professional accomplishment or financial success.”
When I go to a festival and see the big, radiant smile on my happy son’s face, or just walk my dog through the endless green spaces near where we live, I take time to remember how it feels, and I take time time to remember the peace and satisfaction that I feel because I know that peace and satisfaction can be fleeting, and are invariably hard-won for people like me.
And I take time to remember and really feel how satisfying and soul-enriching it feels to write and run the website now. Sure, the money and the page-views and the attention are nice. Heck, the money and the page-views and the attention are very nice and the money is kind of essential but right now Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place and my relationship with its readers and benefactors is feeding my soul as well as my checking account.
When I feel inspired, which is much of the time these days, I feel like the spirit is moving through me, like work is effortless, joyful, automatic. I don’t know what the future holds. There’s a chance that five years from now this article will look ridiculous because I will have sold the site to Red Bull and they will have fired me and instituted a strong anti-Nathan Rabin stance. But right now I am savoring the purity and idealism of the site, and taking concrete, aggressive steps to keep it idealistic and pure.
We’ve building something special here. I’m going to do my damnedest not to blow it.
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