On Becoming the Person I Didn't Want to Be

I like to ponder from time to time about things that I didn’t think I would ever do that I catch myself doing. It’s a sobering thought really. You have such a perfect view and understanding of normal that only a teenager, just out of college, recently engaged, or recently married person could discern. Wisdom is ancient. Being teenage and young is fleeting. I do things I didn’t think I would ever do. I’ve become that person. 

I want to be comfortable in my clothes much more than I want to be fashionable.  

I’m almost completely out of touch with pop culture, and my reasoning for being out of touch would give my younger self a grand opportunity to boast: I just don’t understand what is going on. 

I don’t like volume really loud. In fact, my understanding of loud volume is totally different than it was 15 years ago. 

I don’t go to many concerts, but when I do I prefer one that starts on time, ends early and require very little standing. 

I talk to my kids in a really excited tone when they wake up and I’m almost certain they hate it as much as I used to. What I didn’t understand, nor do they, is that like me towards them, my mom really enjoyed my company and was delighted when I came in a room. Only some age and experience will explain this. 

I take delight in having no plans on weekend evenings, which was a living nightmare to me when I was 17 

I love to wake up early. 

I love to go to bed early. 

I love to sit in a quiet room. 

I value being educated formally much less than I ever thought I would. It is certainly important, but I value having a trade, wisdom and experience much more. 

I’m more concerned with what people become, than what they intellectually adhere to. 

Going on a road trip, or to a conference isn’t that appealing to me. But when I go, I enjoy the drive and talks in the car, meals and the time in between sessions of a conference much more than the actual conference. 

Traveling the world, seeing different places and experiencing different cultures was a tremendous experience, but they can’t even come close to the experience of having a family. 

I get bored with watching sports rather quickly. 

I enjoy talking about the past, reliving old memories, and hearing others do the same. 

Yes, I’ve become that person I didn’t want to be in many ways, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Ironically, I still have many of the same interests, but my affection and approach towards them is what has changed. I enjoy watching a game, but I’m not emotionally invested. Where my emotions and affections are spent are doubly rewarding in satisfaction and delight, and yet costly in heartache and pain.  

Matured delight and heartache has taught me this above all: I am finite and limited. What I do with my time and what I give myself to is also limited and finite. This leaves me with little time, and little interest in some of the things I previously highly valued. I’m more interested in my friends’ job than I am the economy. I get more excited watching my son, niece and other friends children playing soccer than I do about any professional sport. I enjoy playing baseball with my kids much more than watching the Yankees. Baseball is more of game to me than its ever been. What I'm learning that I didn’t I understand when I was a teenager, or in my early twenties was how the proper value of things. Music, television, sports, and traveling are becoming to me what they should have always been: recreation, accessories, an added bonus. They don’t make a life, they only add flavoring and color in high spots. 

What I thought about myself 15 years ago is what I am today, and what I wasn’t then. I’m more seasoned, more experienced. I haven’t arrived, but that’s part of the experience, learning you’ve got a long way to go. Which means this: I’m going to become that person again one day: the person mid-thirty year olds don’t want to be. 

June 2016 A.D.