It occurred to me today that I am not sure how the teenage me would react to the middle aged me.
I wondered how the kids I was friends with would see me.
I wondered how the friends I had even in my twenties that I may not have now would see me.
Who have I become?
I wonder sometimes.
Heck, I wonder a lot.
I wonder when the weight of the world started to weigh my smile down.
When the stress carved itself into my face.
When my laughs came less frequently.
When my outlook darkened.
When my circle of people close to me tightened.
It happens day by day, instant by instant, and the awful part is that we are watching as it happens. We are the ones that overreact to something upsetting. We are the ones that do something stupid. We are the ones that say something callous.
No one is making us, we do it ourselves.
The complication is that that callous word may not be about that moment but about a moment from earlier that day that has nothing to do with the person you are speaking to but which you didn’t get to resolve.
We are not machines.
We are feeling creatures and we can only take so much and sometimes we vent off the steam that builds inside and we get burned and those around us get burned.
The thing to do is to learn to slowly vent it and in healthier ways but, well, if we could do that then maybe our health wouldn’t be declining.
Who have we become?
Would our younger selves recognize us?
Would our younger parents?
Would the teachers who helped form our foundation?
Would the loves we had and lost know the eyes they looked into once more?
I often wonder how we’d see ourselves if we came across a duplicate and had to interact. Would we see the similarity in personality and ideals and beliefs?
Would we see the nastiness we try to hide away from the world?
The older we get the more responsibility we take on, the more debt we accrue, and many of us start to settle down with families. It’s not always that we choose to neglect friendships so much as there isn’t time for all the plates you need to spin and slowly people just disappear.
They get busy.
They have lives too.
Some friendships last.
With texting and social media you can at least have a fighting chance to stay in touch, but not always.
Sometimes you just fade out of one another’s lives.
Sometimes you change.
And it’s strange to look in the mirror and ask – do I know that face?
And do you?
Do we take the time to stand and ruminate for a moment as we look into our eyes and wonder if we are pursuing the things we desire and love or just going through the motions.
As much as I bang on myself, I have done things I am happy about, and am proud of. I have lived dreams, I have known deep, lasting love with my wife and kiddo. I have kept writing, despite my threats to quit. I have kept putting events together despite what feels like an indifferent populace. I have met amazing people and seen astounding things. Heck, I even made a couple short films.
I have kept the fire inside of myself alive.
I won’t live every dream, but I will keep fighting to pursue the things that fulfill me.
I will keep working to be better.
I won’t always succeed but I will try.
No, I wouldn’t recognize the man I have become, and I wouldn’t necessarily like who I am but darn it, who listens to punk kids anyways?
Get off my lawn before I turn the hose on ya!