I came across something the other day that set off a chain of thoughts, feelings, and conflicting ideals. It wasn’t anything huge, just an old picture of a much younger version of myself. Short hair, clean shaven, full of hope and goals and dreams. He was sure of himself, cocky, with no one to listen to but himself. A baby face with a menacing eye.
I starred at this picture for more than a few minutes remember the time it was taken, the situation. It was all clear as a bell. I could still hear Wyatt playing his banjo in front of the school, and taste breakfast with Josh, Jake, and Marty (we called it “Media” Class) at the Dairy Bar.
Life was simple then, even if we didn’t believe it or know it.
Eight years have passed since that picture was taken. Eight years worth of scars, fun, wine, women, song, and odds are liver damage. Eight years of reckless abandon, filter through a glass that now tinges my view of those idyllic days of yore. The time before life (and enough beer/whiskey to kill big game) changed me more than a little.
I stood up, and walked into the bathroom, where the only mirror in our house is located, and starred again, looking deep into the eyes of the man in the glass. He seemed strange, almost foreign to me. The long hair and beard seemed fitting, but almost everything else was wrong. His eyes were cold, almost dead, without the fire of youth. His shoulders, once broad and straight hung like a jacket on a rack, while his back was no longer ridged, but bent as if with a great weight.
But the thing that changed most was the smile. It wasn’t just smaller, or less mischievous. It was non-existent. Not even a hint of it could be seen in that new face.
But not for long. Given some recent life events, it would appear I shall have the better part of the next year to focus entirely on self improvement. I’ll be replacing the Dying Dictator thread (a story going nowhere) with one on my goals and improvements.
Remembering we can improve is one of the most key facets to surviving this life. We might not know the person we used to be anymore, but that doesn’t mean we cannot choose to become the people we want to be. As time passes, we can either use it, or spend it aging.
In 5 days I turn 26… since I never plan to “grow up”, it seems a good time to simple “grow.”