Who is that old guy?

I was reading the other night and a startling image caught me by surprise. The light of my iPad was shining in my face and I looked up for a moment and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Maybe it was just the half light of the screen that made my face look older? It wasn’t. It certainly accentuated the lines that didn’t used to be there. I almost didn’t recognize myself. When did my reflection start looking so old?

Ok. I am not that old, but I am certainly starting to feel older. I will be 33 later this week. I have been out of my twenties for a while now and am steaming on to bigger numbers in the 30 series. I haven’t been feeling it too much, but it doesn’t help that I had a coworker remind me that Jesus was crucified when he was 33. I thanked her…with sarcasm, but thanked her nonetheless. Just when I got over that, a guy at church called me sir yesterday. It happens, I suppose. Oh well.

Part of aging includes remembering. Marixa and I have been talking a lot lately about memories. What do we remember? How long has it been? What significance did that period of time have? What did we learn? This is what I pulled from the conversation: What we remember is important. What we do with it is more important.

You hear the hypothetical question all the time: if you could go back to when you were younger, knowing what you know now, would you do it? My answer? No. Sure it would be nice to go back and make better use of my teenage years, save some more money, not date some of the women I dated, and so on, but I wouldn’t be the same. If I made it back to where I am now with a different view of life I may not have the things that mean the most to me now: my wife, my son, etc.

It was all of those life experiences that have made me into the man that I am today. If I hadn’t made a lot of the blunders and idiot mistakes I made over the years, I would not be who I am. It has taken a while, but I am really starting to like the guy in the mirror. I am finally becoming comfortable being myself. I know myself much better these days. It was only through the process of self discovery (and getting older) that I got here.

The old saying is true. People who don’t learn from their mistakes are destined to repeat them. Those who don’t remember what happened, may walk down that road again. There are things in my past I am not proud of. There are choices I made that I would not make again. So, I remember them. I remember how it felt when I was going through them. I don’t want to go back so I choose a different way.

Yeah, he’s getting older. There are more lines on his face. There is much more gray on his head than there used to be, but they guy in the mirror’s life is getting better. I can’t go back and change what has happened in the past, but I am doing my best to take the memories I have and learn from them. The reflection is going to keep getting older, but the smile on his face has a chance to get wider as the years go by. I will take that over going back any day.

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