On 2/12/02 9:09 PM, "D
> If you ran into the self that you were 10 yrs ago, what would that
> 10-years-younger-self think of who you are today and vice versa?
> - d
This is a wonderful question. I’ve wondered about this a lot. As I very much remember where I was 10 years ago. Actually, this was a milestone in my life. It’s closer to 11 years now...but hopefully, you’ll allow me to fudge it a little. It's taken me quite some time to gather my response because this really is a question and topic that I've been wanting to write about for a while. Maybe this is the right forum for some of it...If not... Feel free to skip this one...In other words... Pay no attention to the rambling.
In the summer of 1991 I was 23 years old. I had just dropped out of college in Ohio and walked away from a one year engagement. Well, before you get me wrong...this was the beginning of a self re-engineering. The degree studies were getting me nowhere quickly, the engagement was to a woman who'd just received a pharmacy degree and felt I'd do better if I just got a nice 9-5 job, forgot about this silly theatre pursuit, and got the hell away from those weirdos I hung out with.
This was the summer that I came to the crossroads and had to make a decision. I chose the path that I thought was me rather than reasonability. I also wound up spending that summer in a condemned house on welfare. I was in a small college town in Athens, Ohio that effectively closed shop for the summer when the kids went home. The cat I'd grown up with most of my life died that summer. I ate generic hot dogs and ramen more than anyone should legally be allowed. It really sucked.
The night my cat died, I sat there in the 'living room.' In the back apartment I could hear the housemate that I almost never saw having very loud sex. We're talking 'Fight Club' sex. And I was Jack's unrelenting belief that I'd chosen the wrong path.
I looked in the mirror and said, "This sucks. You can do better than this without betraying who you are. Now you listen to me. You have 10 years to fix this sh**. In 10 years I expect to find you living it up in California, doing something you enjoy doing, and making at least 6 figures at it.
With all that, you'd expect that I'd look at my 2002 self and be thrilled, proud, relieved... I'm not so sure. The 10 year journey was not an easy one. It had some of the scariest bumps that I could go through. It's taken its toll. I have gained a bit of 'sedentary-lifestyle' weight. This I would notice immediately. My hair is longer in places...it shouldn't... I would notice vanity that I didn't have as a younger me. Upon conversation (not wishing to spoil any trade secrets; less the temporal police come down on me) I'd discover that I'm a lot more confident, though vastly more cynical. The cynicism started in college...it would seem a natural progression, though perhaps there would be a bit of melancholy that I went in that direction.
Ah, yes...my views. My religion? I don't think I'd talk about it... Not that I don't want him to know about it...I don't want him to know about it yet. I don't think polyamoury would surprise past-me. Personally, in that post-pubescent, pre-25, untrained, male-mind-set; Past-me would be curious if I was 'getting any.' He wouldn't ask because he was still in a bit of a shell. Present me would smile wryly more to myself than to past-me. I'd shake my head and think of all the keywords that had occurred in my life, "V,L,R,BR,H,HoF,P,J,M,L2,E,T,S,C,S,O,A,L,T,J,A"
I look at him... I realize that memory and reality are two very different things. He's smaller than I remember. It makes me oddly self conscious about my weight. He asks how our family is doing. This gives me several unexpected twinges. I know he's trying to care about the answer...but hasn't let go of the anger yet. I'm not prepared to tell him that our father has just passed within the last month. I can only say, "Exactly as we expected."
Despite the hardships he's going through I can see a light in his eye. Ready to make his mark on the world (though he has no idea how) I'm reminded of an ex-gf who commented about that light that I had and how over time it seemed to dim a little. It's something I think about from time to time and pray is not truly lost. He doesn't ask a lot of questions. I realize and possibly for the first time realize how passive he really is and how much potential for submission he will unintentionally realize. I want to grab him by the shoulders. I want to warn him. Tell him not to be afraid of who he is or what he can accomplish. I hear the voices in my past saying it to me...and the times I ignored them. Why would the same words coming from me...even earlier on...make any difference?
And with the thought of making a difference...I realize the truth. I'm not fit to try to change him. I am the changed him. And no one individual can do that. "It gets better. Some days you'll know this, some days you'll think it's as bad as it can be. You'll have some incredible highs, and you'll hit some horrible frightening lows that you never thought possible...but in the end...it does get better."
I give him the one thing that anyone needs. Hope. But realistic hope. Hope that there is a future...but in that Babylon 5 manner, you don't get something for nothing. I continue, "I can give you a list of words, pictures, names, faces, events....they will me nothing to you right now...But every one of them. Everyone will be an unforgettable part of your soul for ever when you are sitting on this side of the table having this conversation."
I laugh for a moment hit by a flash of those ten years. The voice of a treasured ex-girlfriend says, "Yeah, whatever, just give me the fu*&ing stone, old man." He asks me what was funny. I tell him to wait about 6-7 years. Ironically he says, "Ah, grasp the stone from my hand young grasshopper?" I smile and say, "Yes. Something like that."
And with that, I am alone at the table. Or more correctly, there are once again two people with my name sitting alone. One is contemplating what the future might bring...the other is reminiscing about the past. Both are exactly where they should be...
For those that are keeping score:
It is 10 years later. I am in California...I am doing something I truly enjoy that started as a hobby. As for the six digits? This really isn't the appropriate forum to go into the details.. But no... To be technical. In 10 years, I did not accomplish a six figure salary ;)
And in retrospect... If I had it all to do over again, would I change anything? I might eat bet and actually exercise some....but in all honesty...I wouldn't change a thing.