Thanksgiving is upon us, and though many of us don’t cosign the revisionist history that created it (giving thanks for genocide anyone?), the holidays are always a great opportunity to sit down with our families, count our blessings, and share stories. In this spirit of family and celebration, Oakland native, and acclaimed music video director, Taj Stansberry wrote a prophetic reflection of his life as a 90 year old great-grandfather looking back at what will become his future. This poignant piece of futuristic literature introduces us to his accomplishments, his family and the changing times with wit, vision, and humbleness. It got me thinking too. What’s my legacy going to be? What will my story be when I’m 90 and looking back at all I’ve created? I’ll have to marinate with that further, but Taj’s vision is perfect. With his permission, we’ve’ posted it below.
Happy Thanksgiving from Taj and 38thnotes.
Today’s Thanksgiving…I think.
Lately, I see things that are there and things that others can not see. At 90 years old…it’s no longer my job description. But at this very moment, what I can see makes me comfortable with my sacrifices- comfortable excepting what’s true. Around the house, I see God’s hand. I see time.
My son’s watching his son play with his son. My grand daughter keeps trying to make sense of what a laptop is and wants me to tell her stories about my music video days. Every time I tell her I was a director, she slaps her forehead and says, “there’s no such thing as music videos.”
I always respond, “Right you are little one…right you are.”
My wife’s still got it. Didn’t think it would be possible to love anyone this long. Her skin may have a few twists and turns these days, but those eyes…those eyes are my truth. They always remind me what life is all about. Even at this age, it’s easy to lose track of the meaning.
She’s been trying to convince me to take walks with her in the morning, but the walk back is just too much for me these days. I’d ride our bikes, but ever since Obama III donated 4 million bikes to elders around the country, the Spring feels like Tour de France. But I don’t mind not being able to keep up anymore. That’s what old age does to you.
Look at my family- so full of life- so unaware of how far we’ve come as people. I’d love to tell them a few things.
If they’d hear me, I’d spend the entire dinner trying to explain how they arrived, who I was back then, and how much of a dreamer I was. I dreamed of them too. I’m still dreaming. I’d tell them that once upon a time there was a thing called gas that smelled awful and cost up to 6 dollars a gallon in some areas. I’d tell them that a man named Robert changed my life, that my father showed me how to be a gentleman, and that my mother turned out to be a REAL angel.
I’d tell them about the day the earth stood still, how the New York A’s used to live in Oakland, how using the word LOVE in public didn’t used to be illegal, and how a man named Steve Jobs made it possible for me to meet their grandmother. I’d tell them about my discovery of art, how it became my first love, eventually taking a backseat to the woman in the kitchen. I’d give them the answers, but would fear robbing them of their journeys. I’d try to convince them that nothing material matters, and that humility is a strength. I’d hope they’d hear me…I’d hope they listened.
I’d tell them so many things over turkey. Things like “happiness” equals “Success”, time is irreplaceable, and that logic isn’t as important as they might think. I’d tell them to take their time, that simplicity is to be admired, and that it’s more complex than mindless clutter or thoughtless lines and curves. I’d tell them that repetitiveness, no matter how much the crowd roars, is not an accomplishment- for they’ve roared for that piece before. Keep exploring.
I’d tell them that people ARE born good, that the devil doesn’t need to exist to make God perfect, and that GOD is real. I’d tell them that they’re beautiful, and that life’s biggest mystery is us. I’d remind them that life on Earth is temporary, but they’ll live beyond this realm forever.
I’d hope they’d hear me. I’d hope they’d believe me. I’d hope all that I said would help them round the sharper corners in life, and enable their souls to embrace GOD’s number one gift to his children…each other. But…I doubt they’d care what an old man with cinematic arthritis has to say. But I’d know they hear me. And though buried for some time, what I’d say today would save them… tomorrow.
Well…wish me luck. Here goes nothin’…