One martini in and things are going relatively smoothly – or at least how I expected it would. Mostly there were people there I knew, or rather, that I knew of in school. All in all, it went pretty painlessly until someone utters five fateful words to me:
“You haven’t changed a bit.”
I might have popped her square in the mouth if such random violence wasn’t generally frowned upon. Really? Who did she think she was? Where was she for the last 25 years? Was she there when I was teaching Sunday school? Or when I was DJing in topless clubs? Did she help me through my divorce or congratulate me on becoming a father? Was she around for any of my life since high school?
It wasn’t until a few weeks later, when the cloud of piss-off had cleared from my brain that I realized she was right. It was a thick, cold mouthful of truth to swallow, but it was one of those things you don’t see standing in the water of your life.
I think I spent most every day of my life since about eighth grad wrapped up in a tight little ball of angst. Twenty five years may have added a lot of experience to me, but it hasn’t changed me all that much. I’m still the same boy who waited for people to come to me, who pulled pigtails to express love, who stood on the outside looking in. It’s only taken me a lifetime to see it… or at least my lifetime up until now?
So, where does that leave me?
That’s a good question.
Where does it leave me? Quite obviously, it leaves me in the same place it has ever left me. It leaves me in the position to either remain the same person or to change. Ideally, the best option is to change. The present is no place to live while schlepping large hunks of past behind you like cinder blocks. Is there pain in my past? Loss? Sure, but that is only a part of the picture, not the background which we render our life now on. The present should be a mosaic of our past: little bits of color taken from here and there to create a constantly evolving picture Maybe it’s time I started really believing that. Maybe it’s time I ditched all those outmoded means of interaction, the canned responses, the fear and stepped out into the now.
It’s only something that probably should have happened 9,131 yesterdays ago.