When I was eleven, I got my first typewriter. It was a gray electric Smith Corona. I spent hours clacking away on it while sitting at my desk in my humid bedroom before central air was a thing I'd even heard of, writing endless stories about lovelorn teenage protagonists and families fighting about eating leftover pot roast because it sounded like a very Middle America dish, which I guess it is.
I stayed up late hunting and pecking and using up all the typewriter's corrector ribbon, as I watched Gilda Radner on reruns of Saturday Night Live on my 19” Sony that had a remote control and a mind-blowing invention of a sleep timer. Bougie.
The next year, I got my first stereo with super huge speakers, two tape decks and another mind-blowing invention — a cd player. I spent hours making mix tapes, drawing covers for the mix tapes, requesting songs on the radio for the mix tapes, taping songs off the radio onto the mix tapes, and drawing scenes from the songs that played on the mix tapes.
Writing, reading, drawing, recording, listening. All at a summers-lasted-forever pace. Back when I was young and had all the time in the world. Back everything was possible.
The typewriter remains in my parents’ attic. My love of creating remains as well. But something is different? Me.
Back when I wrote or drew or read, it was for the pure enjoyment of it. Now when I write, I think about how it needs to be perfect so I can submit it. If I draw, I think about how I’m not very good anymore and I’m wasting my time — and what business do I have sitting around drawing when the laundry in the basement keeps multiplying like Gremlins, anyway. If I read, it has to be something acclaimed that will teach me about style and technique or about how to get my child to develop better sleep habits or about how I need to embrace my imperfections. None of the things I do can be done simply for pleasure.
Most people I know are in a similar boat. They gave up on who they were and wanted to be a long time ago. They go into work and grumble home at the end of the day looking like Kevin Arnold’s father.
Buy why? We are living in an age where anything is possible. Where the old you can shine. You just have to let it. You have to make the time. You have to believe it's still worth it. Who did you want to become? And what will you do today to honor your teenage self to get there?