Thursday, July 14, 2011

Things Change

I didn’t realize the Women’s World Cup soccer championship was underway or that the Americans were heading to the semifinals after beating Brazil. There was a time when I would have watched every moment on television while wearing a Brazilian jersey and screaming, “Viva Brasil!” Now I’m barely aware of sporting events unless my ten-year-old son brings me up to speed.

I used to live and breathe state politics; I could tell you the name, party affiliation and hometown of most state lawmakers, who was last Friday’s guest on Tim Skubick’s Off the Record public television gabfest, and who headed up Michigan’s various state departments. Now I can’t even tell you how many there are.

I used to have long, curly brown hair and weigh 170 pounds. Now I’m bald – by choice, I feel compelled to state – and 50 pounds overweight. I used to be able to run like the wind. Now people probably laugh at me when I jog/waddle through a crosswalk.

I used to laugh a lot, at the drop of a hat, my mouth wide open. Now it takes a really funny comic or one of my kids to get me to laugh and my jaw stays closed.

I used to read books, lots of books, a few at a time, and was seldom without one. Now I mostly read magazines and blogs and articles posted on Facebook, and watch more television than ever before.

I used to have a lot of money; I could go wherever I wanted and buy whatever I fancied. Now I go days with just a few singles in my wallet and rent DVDs with the family instead of sitting in a theatre. I used to travel a lot but now can count on one hand where I’ve been in the last two years.

I used to visit my parents regularly; now we go weeks without talking and years without seeing each other. I used to think I knew it all; now I know how little I know.

I used to like slasher movies and mysteries and scoff at “family programming.” Now I can’t watch someone being terrorized onscreen without feeling a little jittery; “Wipeout” and “Amazing Race” have replaced “48 Hours” and “Law and Order” on my TV.

I used to have faith in my fellow man but now it’s lacking. I used to respect my elders but now I’m jaded. I used to instill fear with just a look; now I’m afraid of what I might see when I look in the mirror. I used to believe in god but now I see him as a man-made mechanism, a fundraising tool, a crutch like pot or coke or whiskey. I can’t stop paying attention anymore to the men behind the curtain.

I used to be more tolerant, more patient, more ambitious. Now I’ve embraced the idea that I’ve paid my dues and I’m set in my ways and it’s up to younger generations to adapt to me.

What used to be important, exciting, even vital can turn silly and meaningless in the span of a week, a month, a year. Now I sound like my father and wish I were a better son. Now I have more regrets than dreams, more worries than peace. Now I have new goals and priorities, new problems and preferences.

Things change.

1 comment:

  1. What you forgot to mention, Dear Patrick, is opportunity.

    From obscure songwriter Jules Shear via Roger McGuinn's "Back from Rio" album (circa 1991):

    " can be what they've made you into
    or you can make your own luck."

    Keep the words coming. People are reading them.