The people I don’t want to be (any more)

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Life is embarrassment.  There, I’ve said it.

It’s just as well that most memories fade with time.  Some of them have sharp edges, made even sharper by our whetting and stropping of that inward-pointing blade.  When I was still in elementary school, it was virtually impossible for me to let go of something stupid I had blurted out or that I had done.  Even after everyone else had forgotten the incident, it would spring back into my thoughts and I would experience it all over again with all the unpleasant emotions intact.

Time is my friend.  The old hurt and bewilderment that shook me up so badly in the 1960s is gone, replaced by a gentle curiosity as I think back to that shy, oft-teased kid I used to be.  I had to go through there to get to here,  but I have no desire to go back.  There is no desire to revert to eight-year-old me, even if I could live that life differently.

There’s a thought experiment:  “If you could send a message to your childhood self, what would you say?”  Not much, really.  (I don’t want to disturb the space-time continuum too much.)  “Practise the piano and the guitar a little bit every day.”  “Don’t let that guidance counsellor talk you out of taking Auto Shop.”  “Go see Magic Tom in person.”  That’s about it.

Life would undoubtedly be very different had I not met certain people, had I taken a different major in college, had I done this instead of that.  Where would I be now, though?  Who would I be?  There are no guarantees.  The only thing to do is anchor myself in the present, wave to those girls and women in the past, and wonder what the hell that old crone in 2037 is giggling about.

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