I Used to Know
A list of things I used to know...
- I liked to head to heavy metal concerts and bang my head a few times a week. I'd fearlessly enter the moshpit and move right to the middle. I'd stand there and get knocked around, shoved, punched, but I wanted to prove I could take it. The angry music made me angrier. Unfortunately for the people in my life, I carried the anger with me most of the time and I wasn't a pleasant dude to be around. My ears were pierced in 4 or 5 places (I can't remember now), my nails were painted jet black or gun metal gray and I wore a necklace that said 'F*** you' on it. Looking back now, I don't like that version of me very much.
- I got a high on making others feel bad. I knew what it felt like to be bullied and one day I decided I'd had enough and became the bully myself. In social situations, I was always the one putting others down, because people would laugh and I wanted to be accepted. Looking back now, I don't like that version of me very much.
- I didn't appreciate women. I thank God every day that Jenny has forgiven me for my past sins and for all the ways I didn't treat her the way she deserved to be treated. I was young & naive & full of myself. I'd act on whims and not think about how my actions would affect others. Looking back now, I don't like that version of me very much.
- I let my ego run my life. I was so sure I was better, smarter, etc than everyone else. I thought I was perfect and could do no wrong. I treated people harshly. I never gave anyone the benefit of the doubt. I was slow to forgive, if I ever even let someone off the hook for messing up. I never accepted responsibility for my actions and was quick to pass the blame onto someone else. Looking back now, I don't like that version of myself.
- I wasted a lot of time on sports and video games. I still watch sports and play video games every now and again, but when I do, I feel like I just wasted my time. There are things to be drawn...stories to be told...memories to be made. Nothing against sports and video games, because it seems like they bring people together. But I used to think I loved them. Now I just feel empty after watching people get paid millions of dollars to run around or staring blankly at my phone and pressing buttons. I don't like that version of myself either.
- I had everything figured out. I knew it all. I was disruptive towards authority (teachers/bosses) even if they weren't bad teachers/bosses. Looking back, I don't like that version of myself.
- I was in control. I could make things go the way I wanted, and if life didn't go the way I wanted, I would just lie and manipulate until I got my way. Looking back, I don't like that version of myself.
Turns out as I get older I'm becoming more and more comfortable with not knowing a darn thing. There really are no rules in this life. Any/all rules that I want to begin to think I know Brian Andreas has written for us already, but even he admits those change from moment to moment.
Because I don't like listening to music that makes me aggressive. I don't like being a bully. I don't like being disrespectful to my fellow brothers & sisters. I don't want my ego running my life. I don't want to waste my time. I don't have anything figured out. I'm not in control of anything but my thoughts & actions.
I used to think I knew so much. As time passes, the list of things I'm sure of gets smaller and smaller. I know I loved waking up in the RV this past Saturday morning, holding Jenny tight and seeing that warm love-filled smile on her face because we did it. We fixed up our RV and slept in it and drove it successfully. I know I loved watching Lia work up the courage to step her little feet into the cold water of Lake Michigan, even if only for a few brief seconds.
It's in those moments when I can just take a minute to appreciate life. I'm certain moments like those hold the key to what's worth knowing. The small moments I overlooked when I was racing through life like a selfish one man wrecking ball. I know now I don't want to miss those moments. I want to spend as much time in awe...in a state of wonder...grateful for the opportunity to not be an asshole (although I still have my fair share of slip ups).
Most importantly, the only true thing I know is that love drives everything that matters to me. It's always there, even in the times when I fight really hard not to see it. It's there. Love has been guiding me my whole life and looking back now, I can see that it took forgetting all the things I used to know to learn the only thing that matters...LOVE.
**I'm currently in Jeanette LeBlanc's 10 week writing course, and this is one of the exercises we did this week.