The now is the then mixed with the middle

I'm certain that if I think hard enough I can look back in time at all the other nights I have stood in this spot. Ten years ago it wasn't like this, but I don't always remember now what was here and what wasn't. I'm standing looking towards the front door, looking down an empty bar with 65 minutes left until close. I'm going to coast and collect the money for looking after the handful of people who are in here.

I've had fantasies about buying this place, and that's the only way it could work. I feel like I am in the middle of a space where there has been so much experience, and there are so many experiences waiting to happen. I'm aware of a timeline that could be created should I decide to go forth into the direction that makes that happen.

But, I can't make that choice. That decision can't be decided, not now at least. This is a time in which I'm here, listening to conversations while reading a lawsuit and wondering if I could find a better music channel and then realizing I wish I could just let go of all of it and concentrate on ten years ago, the time I would have been right here, or close to it.

The last ten years have been the last ten years. There's no magic formula. There is no time machine. This is just a thread that ties together many points of my life. I don't know the pattern anymore and I question whether I ever did.

This has been a fantastic night, though. I had a fantastic conversation with a woman who lives in an apartment on Market Street. Her husband died last year and she's still adjusting to being alone, so she came into the tavern looking for someone to talk to. We chatted for an hour and I was glad to be able to share some time with her. 

I have to admit I honestly admitted to some other people that the food might not be the best because I don't know where anything is. The weak point of being here is that I have to cook food, which I find hard to do when there are people to bring drinks. 

Other things happened. Right now I'm listening to a group of people who were born in 1991, the same year I graduated high school. I'm over any sort of idea that I might be older than them. In fact, I feel younger than them in many ways because I have absolutely no idea what I'm supposed to be doing. I'm busting my ass to make ends meet and to make the beginnings at least make sense. 

What will the next ten years be? This is the biggest unknown, and why I feel kinship with my 1991 self. At least he had a pathway for the next four years. Go to college and see what happens! 

Right now, I feel youthful because I don't have that certainty. So many mysteries await me, but my reception of them is tempered by history and the way that things have gone. 

Ten years ago I sat here and was somewhat hopeful the future, the future that is the now. All that I am leads up to this moment, now, writing at a bar at which I am working with 52 minutes until I can lock the door. 

Will I still be here in ten years? If so, is this the middle? Is the middle the time when you figure it all out? 

I don't know. I only know that I feel so out of sync with my age. I remember being 31 and not knowing what was going to happen next. That uncertainty seems to be the only constant, but I have no idea how to plot that out mathematically. 

All I know is I'm glad I am alive in this moment. To capture thoughts in keystrokes about the memories I've had here, and to imagine a future I know is possible for this little space. This place should be crowded. This place is real. But even the real can have a fantastical sheen that must be guarded against. 

So. This is the now. It's mixed with the previous middles and hopefully I can plot out a trajectory to a satisfactory future. That's the goal. I will make it happen. 

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