There are days when you know you have changed, days when you notice a marked difference in the feeling of your disposition, days when you know there has been a significant shift in your outlook. Tonight I stand on the dock I grew up on, knowing there is no going back to yesterday.
There is a sadness to it, but it’s no more sad than leaving summer camp, knowing you won’t see the girl again. For I know I no longer have the chance to be loved for the boy I was. Those loves have come and gone.
Now, I feel as I’ve never felt: I feel like an adult man. The truth is, up until tonight I’ve never been much more than a boy – and now, the guilt of all I have done as a boy is upon me. The breakups, the fights, the selfishness, the abandonment – of myself and others – is clear, as it never has been. I can relate to the lyric in ‘Waitin’ on The Day’, where John Mayer sings, Waitin’ on the day where that voice comes to say, that it’s not wrong what you did for just a kid.
Maybe it’s time to be honest with myself about my crimes and to find out why I’ve committed them so I can forgive myself, so I can begin to forgive others, so I can live as purely as I did before I ever had my heart broken.
Note: above paragraph inspired by the following James Baldwin passage in his novel Another Country:
In the words of David Foster Wallace, “The truth will set you free, but not until it is finished with you.”
It’s time for me to take the lessons away from the pain. It’s time for me to become the man I was always meant to be. Remaining a boy simply isn’t an option for me anymore. Boyhood is over, and I think I’m okay with that. I think I’m okay with the challenge of being a man, because I know the challenges of boys are greater.
I’m not sure whether this shift is a normal maturation of a man’s priorities or just some gift handed down to me from the heavens. Either way, I’m ready to say goodbye to my twenties and the fears they contained.
Much has come to pass in these last ten years, but the things I love remain the same and my dreams haven’t changed.
As a boy I dreamed of being a good man, of having a family, of being happy, of sailing places, and of being loved and respected for who I was. As a man, I’m tired of dreaming. I’m ready to fulfill the promises I made to myself as a boy, on this dock, all those years ago.
Perhaps the fact I am standing on this dock, a place steeped so rich in memory for me – perhaps this is helping to highlight the significance of the change I feel tonight. As Nelson Mandela wrote in his autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom: “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
Tonight, I have a deepened sense of myself. Some change has arisen within me, and I’m so ready.
10 March: Family
I’m slightly stoned, and I don’t particularly feel like writing – but I know I should because if I don’t, I’ll just lie here thinking of all the same things anyway.
Yesterday’s internal shift continued to show itself today. Ironically, I wanted to write about family last night, but as I was wearing shorts and it was cold on the dock, I ceased my writing when I could no longer stand the chill. But to add clarification about last night’s psychic Bar Mitzvah of sorts, the feeling isn’t only that I am passing from boyhood to manhood, but that specific changes in my priorities are driving this change of seasons in my life.
Specifically, family. Maybe it’s because I’m spending the first significant span of time in the last ten years single and as result am spending more time with my own family. Maybe it’s because I have a baby nephew around. Surely both are important factors in the changes I am feeling but it’s more than that. It’s the fact that I feel like they can count on me now. It’s the fact that I am seeing that they need me. As I too am seeing I need them.
I feel terrible to write this, but I love them more than I ever have. It makes me feel better knowing that I also know them better than I ever have, but my increased feelings of love for them are more a product of the fact that I am no longer so obsessed with myself.
In my early twenties I knew I wanted a family, but my focus was on all the things that augmented my manhood – essentially, the same things most early twenties guys care about: their girlfriend, their car, and their image. I had a material life and I was successful based on my definition of success at the time, but my consciousness existed in a bubble trapped on the material plane.
I was also as selfish and arrogant as most early twenties guys are; although, based on the older men I knew and looked up to at the time, I thought all the cooler men shared my priorities.
It’s not just your priorities that change as you get older, but what you look up to and value changes as well. Now that I am nearing thirty next month, I still want success, sure, but it’s a different kind of success I seek. Yes, I desire copious amounts of money – but for completely different reasons than I did, even a year ago. I think time and life and loss have humbled me. I think the chip on my shoulder has been worn down. Thank G-d.
I always assumed I would meet my girl before I made my money. Well, I’ve done that twice and it hasn’t worked out – for good reasons. Frankly, I’m not going to wait for a women to come along and build the dream with me – and in all honesty, that’s a much tougher proposition to sell at thirty than it is at twenty-four. Young women find ambition sexy, women find success sexy – but that’s not what drives me. I live a heart-centered life. I’m not vying for anything less than wifey of the century. Material girls need not apply.
However, as a man there is no biological expiry date on my baby batter. Maybe I’ll be forty when I meet my wife. Who knows.
Regardless of how old I am when I start a family, I’m planting the seeds now. People are counting on me. I’m counting on me. It’s a long time till forever, but i’m learning I can be a family man and be single. It’s a beautiful thing.
Life is about relationships. Connection. And maybe I’ll make a forever home for the right girl someday but relationships sometimes end. Even after years. Family however, is always there. And should the Gods see it fit for me to walk to the alter then I intend it to last a lifetime, heaven willing. But right now I am so blessed to be near my family.
Which is difficult given that I want to get a place in LA again soon (I’m one of those freaks who LOVES El Lay). But honestly, I don’t even want to think about leaving them right now. They need me. And I need them.