I was finally able to extract a bunch of data from an old hard drive. I was sure it contained old writings, school projects and music but what I forgot about were endless amounts of photos. It was basically a 10 year old time capsule of every shenanigan from early college on through the days at Sony and Warped Tour. Lesson learned- I’ve already made several backups of the data.
It was truly wild looking back at so many things that I had forgotten. My mind is always focused ahead, or not even on reality at all- backwards is a direction I rarely travel.
When I first started going through the photos I was really excited, like I had found personal, priceless buried treasure. I couldn’t believe the different parties, travels, special occasions and absurd shit that we were able to get away with. It became compulsive to see what was next, my afternoon ruined until I reached the end of all 7,000+ pictures.
As I’ve become older, out of my twenties for a couple of years, I’ve found myself settling into a pattern of reveling in solitude.
When I was younger, I had to be plugged in. There was a driving force behind finding someone, anyone, to meet up with for a movie or drinks. It didn’t matter who it was with or what we were doing, as long as I had a story to share the next day. Inside I felt like I was “loser” if I didn’t go out. Somehow I had failed if I didn’t have plans. I’m not sure if it was out fear of being alone- being forgotten. If I didn’t go out, I’d slip from everyone’s circle in a weird “out of sight, out of mind” scenario or I was just desperate for approval.
I used to pour my guts out. Seems the only way I ever understood my feelings were to read them. The collection within these pages used to know me better than my closest friend. The writing used to be honest, uncensored, and unapologetic. I never considered what happened beyond the typing- there was a naive and innocent freedom in approaching a blank page without an agenda or audience. It was like I was screaming at the top of my lungs off of a cliff. It felt good to yell, to have my words bounce around the stone walls and echo back so I could hear them. No one else was around to hear what was going on, so it didn’t seem that crazy.
I found my journal from exactly 10 years ago- talk about an eye opening read. I couldn’t put it down, not because it was particularly exciting or well written, but more like a ghost talking to you from the past.
I stayed up until 3:30 am reliving what seemed like a different story but with the same main character. Some things I couldn’t remember at all- especially things that seemed so important in the moment. Other things I remember happening, but the memory was like a news clipping of factual information- the journal filled in all the emotion and thoughts that had long since been forgotten. However, the strangest part is how little the main character has changed. I’m essentially the same person I was back then, just further along in the story- or maybe now in a sequel. For some reason I equated 10 years time to me transforming into a different person, maybe an adult. That I had emerged into a new, sophisticated version of myself keeping only my best qualities. The truth is, I still laugh at fart jokes. I’m still single for the exact same reasons. Money has never made me happy. My imagination is way better than reality. The only thing that has really changed is my friends, they did grow up.
Alas, blaming my drought on the complexities of women is only half of the coin. The root of the problem is that I’m not a kid anymore. No matter how many huge jumps I take on my mountain bike to make my inner child squeal with joy, Red Bull and vodkas I do at the bar with my bros to set my inner party animal on fire, and exotic trips I take to explore new worlds satisfying my inner Magellan, I can’t escape the gray hairs and sore muscles. I have epitomized the Peter Pan Syndrome to it’s fullest and the thought of true reality is something I’ve never been able to fully accept.
“Puer aeternus* is Latin for eternal boy, used in mythology to designate a child-god who is forever young; psychologically it refers to an older man whose emotional life has remained at an adolescent level. The puer typically leads a provisional life, due to the fear of being caught in a situation from which it might not be possible to escape. He covets independence and freedom, chafes at boundaries and limits, and tends to find any restriction intolerable.”