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Generations

"same "

I find myself in a skin that is obviously me, but sometimes feels foreign.

Sometimes I look in the mirror and see the person I wanted to be when I was in Junior High. The kid who worked behind the counter at Lou’s Records. Alternative. Attractive. Confident. Looking cool in eye makeup and thrift store digs.

Is this the same person? The one I see now and the one who looked out from a den of insecurity 15 years ago?

The one who wore turtle necks every day for a year to de-emphasize his jug ears? The one who wore foundation make-up to cover his acne….Always living in fear that someone would notice the tan colored make-up rubbing off on the turtle neck?

Is this the same person?

The one who is known as a cocky bastard. The one who struts through a convention center with a reputation as “The flamboyant guy with excessive self esteem.”

The transformation seems almost comic.

Will the growth of the next 15 years be as dramatic?

I look now in the mirror and see evidence of years. Skin that isn’t quite as elastic. Large pores from years of picking zits. A hairline that shows signs of retreat.

I am an adult. Physically, at least. I still feel years away from grown-up responsibility. Even when I *did* have business cards and played the handshake game in conference rooms, it never felt like me.

I felt like little Johnny Styn, dressed up in his dad’s oversized suit. A Talking-Heads farce of respectability. Playing grown up. But quite obviously still a child.

“And you may ask yourself…How did I get here!?”

When I think about being a father, I have a surge of excitement…that quickly subdues. I am irresponsible. I am selfish. I don’t plan for the future. I practically need a guardian of my own…I am not fit to guard a precious life and provide for it. Not a cat, not a dog…and certainly not a baby.

“Well, perhaps I will grow into it” I think. I remember thinking that when I was 25. I wonder if I’ll think it when I’m 35. Or 40.

Is this the same person?

In elementary school I wanted to be a paleontologist. I had a quiet pride at having the most obscure grown up profession written on my construction paper contribution to the class décor. There were cutouts with “Actress,” “Writer,” and “Fireman.” But my “Paleontologist” scrawl stood out.

For years I tried to find a place for myself. When the dullness of digging for bones became clear, I moved on in my adulthood dreams. In college I dreamt of being a psychologist. But it was an edited dream. My TRUE dream would have been to be an artist…but the weight of the world convinced me that dreams like that were silly. Simple math could demonstrate that the number of people making a living at creative writing/painting/acting/etc were statistically zero.

Best to find a more realistic dream.

“Realistic Dream” WTF??!?!?

Now, as a child of 30 years, I find my dreams echoing my 3rd grade classmates. I want to write a book. I want to make a TV show. I want to save the world. (I don’t have a desire to be a fireman…but a stint as an astronaut sounds pretty cool.)

Is this a blessing or a curse to have a child’s dreams running through my head? It certainly causes me some stress. If I didn’t have a successful website, it probably could get me committed. But perhaps this cyclical development is a good thing. Perhaps adolescence and “adulthood” are merely phases to work through before you can embrace childhood playfulness again.

But this is grossly over-simplified and inaccurate. At least in my case.

I am buried in stress. I medicate myself against anxiety.

Fearing responsibly is not the same thing as working through it.

Maybe I’ll grow into it?

Is this the same person?

Same as it ever was.

 


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