Nothing can fix me. It’s too late. I’m too old. Do you ever feel like that?
As you get older, things become clearer. The good part of aging is that you gain wisdom about things. It used to bother me when my parents would give me advice on something and their basis for the advice was that they were older and they knew the way things were. It seemed a pretty flimsy basis to me. As I have grown older and interact with younger people I see that there are things you understand just from having been around longer. Sometimes things are so clear to me that I can’t understand why the person I’m talking to can’t see it. Someday they will.
The bad thing that becomes clearer as you get older is that who you are starts to solidify. This is not a problem with the good qualities that you have but it is a source of frustration with regards to the things about yourself that you’ve always wanted to change. When you are younger, you always think that there will be time to change. Nothing is forever. I will only do this job for a little while until I pay off my school loans. I will live in this little apartment now until I have enough money to move into a bigger one in a nicer neighborhood.
The biggest surprise to me as I get older is how little personalities change. When I was growing up, I just assumed that my father had reached the level of adult maturity in which you take on the responsibilities of adulthood because you want to, not because you have to. Maybe I was naive, but I assumed that adults no longer wanted the things that they may have wanted when they were younger. I assumed that raising a family was not a burden but was a joy. My father didn’t care about what he had had to sacrifice because what had replaced it was more desirable.
In my twenties, I kept waiting for this maturity to arrive. I kept waiting to not care about the joys of my youth; video games, science fiction and fantasy and watching sports. Two decades later and I still love those things. I still love my freedom. I have been married for over a decade but in many ways I’m still the same person I was back then. Sure I’ve gained knowledge and wisdom but at my base, I’m almost the same.
This sameness is a burden when I make the same mistakes over and over. The things I fight about with my wife are rarely new things. Instead they are variations on the things that have been problems for years. I’ve often reached the point of giving up and just accepting that I can’t be any other way. I think people reach that point a lot from a physical standpoint. You try for years to get back into shape and you are not successful so you decide that you are at your new normal size. You accept what you are. This can also happen to us from a mental standpoint.
Still, I retain hope that I can change. I have been successful over the last couple of years in changing myself physically, shedding some weight and getting down to what I vaguely remember was my college weight. Now I am also working on changing mentally. My goal in this is not some hazy past ideal but progress towards to a hazy ideal that we all carry around inside, how we would like to be if we only could. Maybe we can. I need to believe that I can change and that things don’t have to be one way just because that’s how they’ve always been. We’ll see.