We Get Older

Not who he used to be

I had a dream last night that I hadn’t really met an old friend after years and not recognized him, that it was all a joke someone pulled on me and he was still the same compact, bearded young man I remembered when he was nineteen.

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Back then, he had a dark charisma (like a good English major should) despite his straw-blond hair and blue-grey eyes. I had a little bit of a crush on him back then, although he certainly wasn’t good for me.

When I met him last, all that had changed. He was no longer the attractor of my shadow-self, but was taller, paunchy, and affable. He had given up writing. Not that this is a problem — all these are signs of a happy marriage, which he had managed to find. It was just — different.

My shadow self, the part of me that likes things that are wrong for me, the me that I have sublimated into stories, was disappointed.

Of course we all change

It’s not like I haven’t changed. I weigh more or less the same as I did when I left college, but that’s because I’ve always been overweight. My hair is almost completely grey and has gotten thinner. My moods have been changed with the medication I take, so I don’t waver between despondency and elation. My shadow-self isn’t running the show and making mistakes.

How does this look like on the outside? I’m probably not as interesting as before, especially to those persons looking for dark and complicated. I probably don’t have the erratic energy, attractive energy, that I had before. In effect, I have changed in the way my friend has changed, but haven’t noticed because I changed so slowly.

Angst, perhaps, is the thing we leave behind in order to grow. I know it’s for the best, but my shadow-self is a little disappointed in me.

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