The beauty in it

Tyler Murphy

This past week my long time girlfriend landed a good job fresh out of college and my best friend decided he was going to get married. The best man being yours truly.

These life developments I must admit fall in a span of time long spent on pondering the next direction my life should take. I wonder sometimes if that mode of thinking will always be the case, at what point can one say I think I’ve gone far enough? Even if the money was good and never ending I’m still not sure that’d be enough to be content.

Do you ever feel the stirring part of your mind, the restless skeptic, the nagging perfectionist, the constant urge of positive personal reform and professional success.

I’ve been an Evening Sun reporter for a few years now. I’ve seen just about as much excitement in my tenure here as any other previous crime reporter. Three murders, one returned on appeal, a couple of fatal drug shootings combined with tens of thousand in seizures. Maybe a dozen fatal accident scenes, another half dozen suicides. Before I worked for the paper I only ever saw one dead body outside of a funeral. The first one I saw on the job was a woman my exact same age, sharing an identical birth date. If those random similarities weren’t true I doubt it would’ve made such a lasting impression.

Tell me that’s not weird.

Her distorted body was crushed in a freak car accident. I could draw you a picture of her blood covered upper torso hanging out the driver’s side window with snow gently accumulating on her long blond hair. I’ll never forget the sight. I stood there in the snow and made myself remember. It makes me feel like police, firemen, EMS and emergency workers in general don’t get enough credit.

It’s been interesting.

I’ve had defendants beg me to tell their story, I’ve had others spit in my face. Through the middle fingers and tears I’ve never taken any of it personally.

I’ve sat through maybe 10 full criminal trials now. Anyone hoping to have the experience as a spectator I’d advise skipping the jury selection. Two of those were murders cases, one lasted six weeks. I’ve watched the complete line of legal procedures from arrest to sentence. Over all the system seems fair but there’s plenty of room for debate.

I’ve met congressmen, assemblymen, the state’s supreme court judges. Some of them have even shared a dirty joke or two.

Being a reporter you have a tendency to get a piece of everyone’s story but rarely are you able to focus on any one part in enough depth. Everyone has a perspective and a tale to tell but our job is to relay how it all comes together.

Taking all these experiences, some bad, some good, a few wretched and a few glorious, I’ve never thought much beyond keeping life honest and interesting. It’s my hope that one day people will use those two words to describe me.

Maybe I’m getting old because it seems more and more life is a weighted experience full of complications. Money, love, work and the future of all three. There is no calculation that can predict any one of those variables and when you’re combining all three I’d dare say our life styles are more closely related to the work of an artist than that of an engineer.

At least that’s how I try to look at things. I remember there was this plan- we all have (had) one- but it never goes accordingly. That’s life. If life depended on the precise math needed to construct a bridge it would never be built. It’s a canvas, your the artist and the colors will be randomly chosen day to day. Over all you have an idea of the what perception you’d like to express in the masterpiece but in the end it’s a labor of adaptation as much as expectation.

That’s always been the beauty in it for me.

Every time I find myself dragged down by unforeseen consequences or handed a short cut through no fault of my own I just think of the canvas and how much there is left to paint. Who knows how long any of us have anyway?

There is no destination to these thoughts, they just keep moving forward. I’ve never come to any sound conclusion to solve all my problems though I’ve stumbled upon my fair share of ways to make them worse.

That’s what I’ve been thinking about lately, to find a better way ahead. Seems my girlfriend and best friend are finding themselves in the same boat.

What about you? Where have you been and where are you headed?