I’ve only traveled to California two times, and both treks were business trips. Back in ’98, while working for IBM, I attended the IBM Business Partner Executive (BPEC) conference event that was held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Years later, while working for Cardinal Health, I traveled to San Diego to attend a marketing team meeting.
Though I’ve never physically visited Los Angeles or Hollywood, like so many others here in the U.S. and around the world, I certainly have, as singer-songwriter James Taylor might say, “been going to California in my mind” for many years.
What is it about California? It seems to be a golden land, n’est pas? Related, like the early diggers in the 1800s who were addicted to the pursuit of finding gold “in them thar hills,” so many of us find ourselves spellbound by the romantic idea of California as a place where potential gets fulfilled, where dreams come true, where beaches never erode and where stars rise to blinding heights in the sky.
Speaking of stars…when I think of Hollywood and its movie stars, I often think of golden girls and golden boys – those quintessential, California “golden ones.”
It’s easy to spout off the names of some of the golden girls…names like Marilyn, Lana, Jayne, Doris, Grace, Julie, Farrah, Goldie, Suzanne, Meg and Gwyneth. When it comes to the golden boys, however, the list seems somewhat shorter but, by no means, less golden. James and Robert usually first come to my mind. But, not today.
Today, my mind first thinks of a different golden boy, Paul. Like a streak of gold, Paul Walker’s star brilliantly shone until it faded on a Saturday afternoon, yesterday in Southern California. Like Jayne and James before him, Paul’s untimely death via car accident sounded the mortal bell loudly again for all of us, reminding us that our time is fleeting and that we shouldn’t waste our moments.
Yes, our own moments, our own minutes are more golden than any promise that the mystique of California may hold. What are you doing with yours?
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!