Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Christmas Wish

Last week, Kevin found his old roommate, from when he was in his early 20s and living in Cleveland, on the Internet. Peter has a Web site created by another friend of theirs from that time, Scott. Kevin was the lead singer in their punk band, The Basiks, and has talked often about how much he'd like to hear from Peter and Scott. He left a message on Peter's site, and a couple of hours later, Peter had posted an entry about Kevin with a picture of him from 1979:

I can't believe that's Kevin! I keep looking at it and wondering whether I would have fallen in love with him back in 1979. Funny, we were both in Ohio at that time and wound up later in Indiana, a state neither of us ever foresaw living in. I started looking through old pictures to find one of the 20-year-old me for comparison:

Back then, I was attracted to older, jaded, angsty, artist types--and if they had a British accent, so much the better. Kevin was an artist, true, but he was so cherub-cheeked and cheerful looking; I'm afraid he would have been much too happy and normal for me. Heh. Now, however, I think he's pretty darn cute. (He's the one on the left, by the way. The other guy is a little too, uh, GREEN for my tastes.)

And here's me 27 years later:

My hair's almost the same, but everything else has certainly changed. Sigh. Well, I'm not the only one who's changed. Kevin pointed out that his friend Peter, who had thick, shoulder-length hair in 1979, is now as bald as Patrick Stewart, and Scott, who had women falling all over him back then, is no heart-throb these days.

I'd like to have a neat, tidy conclusion to this look back in time, something along the lines of we're all happier now and more comfortable in our own skins, yadda yadda. Speaking for myself, I know I don't suffer from the kind of melodramatic angst I did at 20, but I still have disappointments, worries, and uncertainty. Life doesn't automatically smooth out just because you grow up. However, I've gained some acceptance since then. I'm not as hard on myself or others as I used to be, and I don't think I see setbacks and failures as a reflection of my self-worth as much. Maybe that's the real miracle of growing up: not that you learn all the answers, but that you learn to be a little kinder to yourself.

So in the spirit of treating myself kindly, I'm not castigating myself for all the things I didn't get done for Christmas--for the baking I didn't do, the presents I couldn't afford to buy, the decorations I ran out of time and energy to put up, the cards I didn't send. Tonight, I'll have a nice dinner with my beloved and my son, and on Wednesday, my parents arrive for a visit. I'll be surrounded by friends and family who love me. What more could I want? I wish the same for all of you--and much peace and happiness in the new year.