“…When the world and I were young, just yesterday,
       Life was such a simple game, a child could play…”

My front nine was baseball, parental divorce and friends— a mosaic thread together with love and insecurity. Life was not only great, but easy. Indeed, but for a fight with Grandpa Irv now and then (he hated my father), the hits just kept on coming.

Everything was black and white…defined.

There were the good guys and the bad guys:
“You’re not allowed to play with that boy.”

There were things you did:
“Make sure you dance with each girl at least once.”

And there were things you didn’t:
“I don’t care what your friends do Bruce. I’m not their father. You are not allowed to play tackle football.”

(Not that I always obeyed—or listened, for that matter. Still, lines were drawn, and with boundaries clear, at least I knew why I never owned shoulder pads).

       “…It was easy then to tell right from wrong,
       Easy then to tell weak from strong,
       When a man should stand and fight or just go along….”

The paradigm shift came swiftly, the minute I left home. Decisions—life decisions—were not always cut and dry.

Like the first time I fell in love:

“Dad, she says she won’t marry me if I’m not a doctor or a lawyer.”
“Get rid of her,” he shot back, matter-of-factly. (It was an immediate if not easy response. My father adored Ms. Jersey, having told me countless times how well the lady played hearts).
“I can’t, Dad.”
“Then go to law school.”

Editor’s Note: I hold no regrets. At all. The marriage not only lasted from Nixon to Clinton, but bore amazing fruit. Mistakes were made, but years later, tucked safely in a hearth of neutrality, I can’t preclude that this mother of my children was not, in her own way, the love of my life. (That, I’m afraid, either says a lot for her or a lot for my life).

       “…It was easy then to know what was fair
       When to keep and when to share.
       How much to protect your heart
       And how much to care…”

In some ways, life’s journey’s been circular. The more things (should I say me?) change, the more they stay the same. How often do I still sit at a turning point, in the muck of hesitation?

Family issues…boundary issues….relationships…  The apartment? Do I stay put or move?  And then there’s Darryl and Darryl. Where will they go? And dating. Will fear ever strike out?

How can a guy with such profound confidence for the long haul have such nagging doubts, short term?  Perhaps, as Stuart says, I do “think too much”?

Not sure if it’s true or not, but doesn’t Oprah recommend if you’re not certain of doing something—if you’re stalled—-that you shouldn’t act? I do know that Snyder says that William Shatner says that if there’s something you WANT to do, just do it. Me? Too often I honor the words of the immortal Lawrence Peter Berra:  “If you come to a fork in the road,” he urged, “Take it.”

If my Dad was alive he would tell me that the hardest part about reaching decision is just making it. (If my Mom was around she would ask why I always listened to my father).  But I’d focus. I’d move forward. 

I’m in a better place than I was but days ago. Still, happy as I am, I have doubts…about family, boundaries, relationships, and life.  Perhaps, what I need to do is just give myself permission to be human.

So be it.

       “…But today there is no day or night,
       Today there is no dark or light,
       Today there is no black or white, only shades of gray,
       Only shades of gray….”

                                                            Mann, Weill

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