Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Stepping into the time machine

I originally set it up a storage shed in Pennsylvania, where it's cheaper, "for a year" when I went to teach English in Korea in 2000. I've been paying on this SOB for almost seven years now -- yikes. I have all kinds of things in there from my previous life -- everything I own really -- a ridiculous number of baseball cards, books, cds and photographs, my high school diploma and numerous other things.

I paid my annual visit today. Going there is like stepping into a time machine. I have mail and papers from 2000 sitting on my old furniture. Mementos of things past galore. My high school yearbook was funny because people said things that were pretty relevant and true today about me being political and opinionated and a muckraker and that type of thing. I was that way -- even then. The hair on Jersey girls in the 80s was even more frightening than one would imagine.

I picked up a bag that has letters from the time I was 15 to 24. I haven't seen these things since God knows when. I read some of the letters from old girlfriends back in the day. My jaw dropped. Apparently I was not a nice guy back then. Some would say I'm not now. Ha ha. I get it. From my main college girlfriend, the good to bad letter ratio was about 1 to 3 or worse. I don't remember it being as bad as those letters made things sound, but apparently it was.

I was so shocked I sent her an email and told her if we'd met today, I'd have been a nicer person, and apologized for being harsh in those years and that I'm glad we're both happily married to other people.

This time machine experience got me thinking about a lot. Leaving the states was a hard decision, and my family did their level best to stop it. It was quite the bone of contention for a while. I remember wrestling with this issue for a long time. It was the hardest decision I ever made. In hindsight, I'm damn glad I did it. The places I've gone and the things I've done overseas have enriched my life dramatically

My twenties, in particular those six years after college were an incredibly tough time. I had three career changes, a series of bad relationships and poor health. I found the corporate culture loathsome, and I expected more immediate success after doing well in high school and college. I developed a disease then that is still a thorn in my side. My fitness level was even worse, and I looked at pictures today, and I look significantly younger now than ten years ago. That is mostly a product of being bald instead of balding, or maybe it is just the aura of being much happier now.

Anyway, this time machine brought me to a place that wasn't too good, and it made me realize how fortunate and happy I am now. I have a great family, a good education, a great community, a decent job, one that isn't really serious enough or intellectually challenging enough, but it is one I can and do make a difference in. Other than my family, the thing I'm happiest about is that I have a wealth of life experiences that traveling and living abroad allows from scuba diving in Palau to seeing the museums of Paris to eating great Thai food in Bangkok.


glend558 said...

Did you find "old" things like 8 tracks, TV with no remote maybe even an LP album like the Beatles?
I just recieved a box of old stuff taking me back to some pictures at age 12. High school yearbook, first wife and babies, cars etc. Wow, Memory lane indeed. Fun isn't it? as long as there are no regrets. I had none.

Jeff said...

i was the tape area, and I threw those out. 8 tracks were long gone, lps were about to die. I have a few lps.