I grew up with this in the background, but didn't appreciate it until very recently.
Which means I am getting angrier, more bitterer, or... something.
I find there's a lot of nuance I appreciate in my dotage that completely eluded me in my youth; I look back at my younger myself and wonder how I could possibly have ever been so dull-witted. Realistically I suppose it's a combination of experience and a brain that has had decades to further develop, but that's a mostly abstract answer and it doesn't much alleviate my bafflement at some of the things that used to be in my head.
If appreciating Stan Rogers is a perk of age, then by all means welcome it.
I think one's brain doesn't really hit its stride until you're around 40 or at least over 35.
I don't feel like I started to get my shit together until I was 30, and the operative word there is "started". To outside observers maybe I seemed to be doing all right by many conventional metrics, but in terms of addressing my many issues, that didn't start in earnest until I was 30.
(A note to anyone in their 20s: if you still feel like a fuck-up, it's okay, because believe it or not you're still developing. You are of course welcome to work to improve yourself as you see fit, but you probably haven't even developed all the tools you'll need yet. So, it really is okay that you're not there yet.)
You grew up with this? You lucky bastard. I know someone who plays folk song shows and I am going to see if she knows this one. She'll love this.
No matter how old I get, I will never love that goddamned Casey Jones song. NEVER. Screw you, childhood.
Bort,, the toolset really is the big hugemonger difference between youth and elder-ape. Most of the time we get knowledge way out of order in our lives, and only when we have the right way of looking at all the data does it align into something useful. Sometimes that takes decades, and one little new piece of thought can cause a dam to break.
I was thirty once, I was an idiot. I'm an idiot now, I just wont realize it for ten more years until I'm the idiot I will recognize as an idiot in 20 years. My idiocy is like climate change.
I'm happy to say I've reached a point where most of my idiocy is harmless or, at worst, hurts only me.
If I could advise my younger self, the things I would try to get across are:
- Only you can complete you; don't buy into the notion that you need another person to complete you, because that will never be true.
- Bear in mind that the other person really isn't obligated to look out for your interests (the other person could be a coworker, neighbor, or whatever); most likely they're going through their own shit and that's consumed their focus. That's fine.
- If you're dealing with someone who's having an emotional moment, the very first thing you need to do is respect their emotions. The book "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen (And Listen So Kids Will Talk)" covers this in chapter one. And anyone with a successful career in customer service knows it too.
- There is a kinder truth to tell.
You'll get there. I look back at how dull I was when I was 28 or so, and compared to back then, I'm practically psychic now. I'm vastly better at picking up on body language, on what ISN'T said, on the most harmonious way to navigate social waters. I was not really fond of myself until I started making my big strides around 30, but pretty quickly I reached a point where I was all right with myself.
Don't beat yourself up though, okay? That's the one I still do by habit -- even over decades-old behavior that probably nobody else but me remembers -- and it never ever helps. The best I can do is (sometimes) make a deal with myself, that if I make my penance for past mistakes not repeating them, I can stop kicking myself.
Thanks, Bort. That's some good advice, especially regarding past mistakes. I might run with that.
"There is a kinder truth to tell." Did you make that up? It's a pretty beautiful thought.
A friend of mine came up with that, nearly 20 years ago.
Another friend of mine came up with a very handy question: "So what are you going to do about it?" Because that's really the question we should be asking when confronted with whatever. Like, say you discovered that a friend has been spreading lies about you, what will you do? You can plot revenge, or you can confront the friend, or you can challenge the lies, or you can walk away, or you can do fifth thing ... but the point is, decide to do something, don't just sit there mired in the emotion. You're certainly allowed to feel what you're feeling, but sooner or later you'll be better served by acting.
Damn difficult song to not sing along to. I don't know many Canadian folk songs but I know this one. (And yes, I know it's only 40 years old or so, not 200.)
If you're ever playing hide-and-seek with me, or hunting me for sport or whatever, a tip: call out "Oh the year was 1778" and I'll automatically respond with "How I wish I was in Sherbrook now". It's a response I have no control over. You can also make a bell noise and I'll sing the bappa dadda dadda song from "Danger! Death Ray".
Is that ... the dad from "Family Ties", and the singer from Hocus Pocus? I think I see Peter Jackson too.
A bootleg live version of this with a rowdy audience singing the chorus is one of my favorite discoveries from the early days of internet MP3 sharing.
I've been to bars in New Brunswick that don't let you in unless you know at least one verse of this.
...it's worth knowing at least one verse of this.
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