This isn't nostalgia. It's… I dunno… amazement at the passage of time. I was speaking to my mother one day when she mentioned that in many ways she felt like the same person she was when she was 20. This despite the many infirmities that have slowly crept in. On some days, this is difficult to imagine…but then I realized that I'd been thinking about the very same issues as they apply to me.
I have an old friend, old meaning that we met when we were both around 15. I was a dorky kid wearing white Adidas and a rugby shirt. He was a dorky guy wearing a blue work shirt and cowboy boots. Over the years we have shared an amazing number of experiences: high school craziness, musical discoveries, girlfriends (disclaimer: we did not share girlfriends), fumbling through college, stumbling through alcohol-hazed escapades (some, not so pretty), concerts, cookouts, marriages, soul-searching, dinners, reunions, parental crises, divorces, more concerts, beer making, baseball, geographical relocations, re-marriages, long phone calls, bazillions of emails, and even more soul-searching.
So…are we still those dorky kids? There are days when I would say "yes." Maybe not 100%, but more than you might think. It's true that in many ways I am a completely different person. On the other hand, that kid still exists. But then I move back into the moment, look in the mirror and see a 40-something staring back at me. Who the hell is that?!
Recently, we've had occasional dinners where we catch up and discuss what's been going on. The thing is, these two dorky kids have problems like everybody our age including work/career issues, aging parents, and even our own health. Not that many years ago, we would joke about being older and swapping our "old man" stories. Now that both of us have undergone a few surgical procedures, the joke's feelin' kinda flat to me.
Of course, there's plenty to be thankful for as well. It's not like we're both hating life. Far from it. Yes, it's a challenge, but it's also full of heart-rending beauty. There's more to come too. We're not sure what, exactly, but that's part of the fun, isn't it?