Monday, June 11, 2007

Have you heard about the lonesome loser?

I went to a concert last Friday night. It was one of those bands who have reformed and reformed and, while having - and played - a little new stuff, knew that people are paying to see them perform the music they made during their heyday - and so 95% of what was performed was. Although this group was fairly popular during the late 70's, early 80's, for some reason none of their albums have been re-released on CD. The only CDs I can find are greatest hits and their recent few (which include mostly their old stuff rearranged).

So, despite not hearing them on the radio or not having CDs (I do have some vinyl, but not a functioning turn table) I was pleasantly surprised that I not only recognized 95% of what they played, I remembered most of the lyrics. I can't remember the name of someone I met 5 minutes ago but I can remember the lyrics of songs I heard as a teenager. pathetic.

The guy I was sitting next to was REALLY getting into the concert and at one (apparently climactic) moment he turned to me and said: "I'd totally go back and relive the 70's." I nodded in agreement and he resumed reliving his past.

But I don't want to relive the 70's (or the 80's, or 90's). I still enjoy (some) of the music, and I have fond memories from those past decades, but - I also remember the pain of growing up, of figuring out girls (which I have yet to do), of figuring out what to do with my life (which I have yet to do), of figuring myself out (which I have yet to do). I have no desire to be a teenager again. I was inwardly confused and outwardly a know-it-all. Not that I'm not that way now, but I think I'm less so - on both counts. I definitely have figured out that I am not the world's foremost authority on anything (while still having strong opinions) and while I am still somewhat confused about who I am, I have learned to live with the confusion.

Sometimes I fantasize about going back in time, but usually so it is so I can keep from embarrassing myself, or to keep from hurting someone who I've hurt, or way, way, in the back of my mind to say that totally perfect line that would've allowed me to score instead of bomb. Sometimes I wish I could go back and re-experience the kids when they were small, or to relive some part of our lives (on Crete, for instance) so I could remember the minutiae of our lives, those memories that Laura has that I can't dredge up.

But just for a while. I don't want to give up who I am now. I may not have achieved the dreams I had for myself but I am comfortable with who I have become. I am by no means perfect, and I am not the man I could be - but I am the man I can be right now. Some qualify their wish to relive their youth with the caveat "only if I can go back with the knowledge I have now". That's cheating - I would be a different person if I went back to relive the past with my hard-won maturity. It wouldn't be the same.

Every year (one of) the college(s) I attended has a day of celebration of the founding - and founder - of the college. I go about every other year with my roommate - and still my best friend (except for Laura, who will always be my bestest friend) and we see what's changed and we recall the memories we made there. Some I still remember, some I have to be reminded of. I have a good time, see a few people I recognize, and am always glad to go home. It isn't the same. I am not the person I was then and am glad of it. I worked hard to grow up and have no wish to revert back to the person I was when I was a student there.

Life may not be as easy as I thought it was going to be "when I grow up" - but it is easier. To be me. I'm not giving that up, it was too hard won.

18 deeply creased, dogeared comment(s):

Lee said...

I am totally with you. Reliving the past would not only be painful, but boring. Every day is a new adventure.

katrice said...

I agree with you whole-heartedly. The pain of the growing-up years far outweighs the desire to go back. And I don't feel so bad knowing that I'm not the only grown-up who still hasn't quite figured myself out.

meno said...

I sometimes think that the difference between being young and being old is that when we are young we think we will figure all that stuff (what we will be) out. When we grow up, we realize that we will probably not figure that out, but we're okay with the journey.

Anonymous said...

Beaten by the cards every time, right?

Actually, I'd go back in time, just because I truly think this world is going to hell faster than I am drinking beer tonight (not that I'm doing anything to slow it down - the world or the beer). It would be nice to live in a world that was less....

If I couldn't go with the experience I have? Couldn't do worse, I think. But, yeah, I'm pretty damn happy with what I've got right now. (Oh, shhh. Can't let that get out.)

Check out this post by Julie, if you don't read her already. I think this post is on topic.

On the old news: Radiant heating is awesome! You dawg. And yes, real plaster is a treat, but the first house we lived in was over a hundred years old (a Cheney millworker's home) and it just crumbled

Bob said...

Lee - yep, at a walking pace!

Katrice - there's a lot of us still working on it.

Meno - that sounds about right. I wish I had learned to enjoy the journey more when the kids were growing up. I would have enjoyed them more. Maybe that's why grandparents are so special to kids.

De - close - beaten by the queen of hearts every time!

I see a few bright lights in today's world, so your secret is safe with me.

I'll check out Julie's post.

We are lucky in that 1) our predecessor installed the radiant heat system and that 2) it survived and still works. In many systems of this "generation" the pipes rusted through (reacting to the cement they're buried in) rendering them unusable.

Our house is 60 years old, and so far the plaster is holding up. It isn't applied to lathe, though, but to 1/2 inch drywall that has holes in it for the plaster to ooze through and take hold of.

Mother of Invention said...

You're absolutely right on. I liked the times back then, But not the angstof wondering what would become of us, dating, careers and all that. I'd go back if I were at my stage of life or at least knowledge I am now,

Bob said...

MoI - It's easy to say that it was better "back then", those were our formative years - we can't help but to prefer them. Memory is selective, though. There were bad things about the world when we were growing up that we don't focus on when reminiscing. There is so much to like about today, we just have to choose to look at it.

thailandchani said...

Fortunately, I have no desire to go back.. and wouldn't want to unless I could change certain things, learn things differently. I know one thing for certain... I wouldn't have feared risk as much as I did.

But overall, no, I would have no desire to be young again.

Urgh! :)

Great post!



Bob said...

Chani - There are some things I wish I had done differently too. I didn't fear risk, but I wish I had been able to stick to certain paths and not changed directions. Hindsight is 20/20!


urban-urchin said...

I'd go back sometimes I think. If like Chani I could change things. But if things change would I still have these two great kids? It's a circular argument I think. But it doesn't stop me wishing I'd done things differently.

Girlplustwo said...

i am so with you. i never think about going back, it WAS too hard won so far.

but that never looking back thing has also been problemmatic in my life. but heck, it's just how i roll.

i liked this post, bob.

Bob said...

Urban-urchin - I have always believed that if events in the past were changed, then the present would be different. My wish for the past is that I had been a better person.

Jen - I DO review the past (the bad events especially!) but I don't want to relive it.


heartinsanfrancisco said...

I really, really like this post.

I think that if we were to go back to our youth with the knowledge we have now, we couldn't stand it for a minute. So much that was offensive then would be even more so, or at the very least, boring.

There are things I would change if I could, but never at the expense of the many people and events I value in my life. Besides, the only thing I am really good at is being me, which is great because nobody else wants the job.

Bob said...

Hearts - thanks! I am not always so good at the job of being me, I definitely don't want to be anyone else. (I wouldn't mind having your writing mojo, though.)

Kathryn said...

I came across your blog while searching for the lyrics to "Lonesome Loser." I really enjoyed it. I've been a writer for a long time and maintain my own blog on MySpace.

I often think about going back and doing things over in life, but I wouldn't trade anything for what I learned in becoming the person I am today. BTW, Groundhog Day is one of my favorite films, too!

Bob said...

kathryn - thanks for the complement! I am by no means a writer, but I manage to keep my blog active.

thanks too for coming by. If you drop back by, leave a link to your blog. I'm (almost) always looking for new ones.

Hooker said...

Oh jesus. The little river band.


Bob said...

hooker - takes all kinds......

judas priest - bleh.