the coming of age.
audio | erykah badu – window seat.
there’s a point where you realize, you’re not that old… but you’re old.
when you don’t recognize what the younger generation is in tune with musically. when certain clothing trends make no sense to you (skinny jeans: GTFOH). when you reject the notion of adapting to what’s current in culture because you’re married to your ways.
(notice i didn’t say “stuck in your ways.”)
the tipping point is when life keeps making you face the same problems, over and over again, manifested in different situations.
every person thinks that life was far better when they were growing up. that life was more pure. there was more to be appreciated. less distortion. more distinction.
man, when i would hear the old folk talk to me about “back in my day…” i’d be like, man get out with that. this is MY time. stop tryin to make me feel like i’m living a lesser version of what your life was.
or better yet, stop wishin that you were livin in MY day and time, because you just can’t admit that times are better NOW than they were back THEN.
ten years later, i’m inching closer to them old folk and barely hearing the whispers of the kid who lived in the now.
see, back THEN was when you built who you are. everything you learned from life, you held close to you and tested it like a chemist having purportedly stumbled upon the next big discovery. i was (read: am) stubborn in my ways. so the values and tenets i ingrained in myself then, i felt would last a lifetime.
theories and friends, life and love, all of it was grand back THEN. it all sounded infallible. as long as you stayed true to a few tried and true theories about how you want to live your life and surrounded yourself with friends who would sustain you when you fell short of your values, then your blueprint was set.
THEN… you quickly learn, it’s all about how you frame things.
every theory gets tested. all scientists know this. many theories fail. very few become bulletproof (i have yet to find any of these).
you can’t appreciate the NOW because you want to believe that what you had THEN was the greatest. because it’s brought you all that’s great about your life NOW. so what’s so bad about THEN?
but the more rigid you become, the more you fail to remember that there is so much to learn NOW. and it’s not about learning. anyone can learn. you can teach a 2 year-old to repeat the alphabet after you, but how quick are they going to repeat it on their own?
it’s all about application. that’s how true learning takes place.
for me? shit. i’m very much married to my ways. it’s kept (mostly) everything that’s great in my life around me and weeded out all the things that kill my vibe. maybe you can say that i’ve grown complacent with that knowledge.
so what about NOW? i think i’m afraid of realizing that maybe some of the values i built my foundation upon perhaps weren’t that strong to begin with.
that’s probably not the proper perspective. rather, it might be that the foundation needs reinforcement. it’s just that i’m too proud to say that something needs fixing.
back THEN? there was no foundation to fix. there was foundation to build. to sculpt. to mold. to strengthen.
ahh. strengthen. there we go. the root of strengthen is “strength,” or “strong” if we break it down even further.
it’s hard as hell to admit that your foundation aint strong. and sayin you have to fix something is akin to saying that something wasn’t that strong to begin with.
when you feel as if you’ve gone through so much ache and trouble to build a proper and strong foundation to live your life upon, it’s tough to revisit the blueprint and say, ok, we got some things here that need fixin.
i think NOW, the best thing to say is, ok… then let’s go fix it.
you don’t have to go assimilating to everything that these new jacks are into these days. you don’t have to abandon everything that was rich back THEN in order to thrive NOW.
you just have to apply what you’ve learned. NOW.
i’m not that old. writing this very post makes me feel old. but i’m really not that old. so i can’t possibly be so stuck in my ways (notice i didn’t say “married”) that i become a fixture of “back THEN.” i have to adapt. learn. apply. wash, rinse, repeat… that kinda thing.
the opportunity to be better exists NOW.
i just have to accept that NOW could be better than THEN…