Outside my window, men are busy building new housing for seminary students. Meanwhile, I am laying around trying to mentally clear my head and ready myself for the Spring semester. My thoughts turned to the early days of living in Austin, and a trip made down to the Guadalupe where CB from MCE’s parents had a house on the river. This would have been inside the first year of living here. I don’t know why I haven’t been down to that area more, or other places like Fredericksburg and Enchanted Rock. The reasons vary. Mostly, I get too caught up in my tiny little life in a small part of Austin and forget about the world that’s just beyond this one. Then, I get upset about being stuck in Austin, stuck in Texas, and I want to take a vacation out of the state.
The next time I went down there was with some friends of R’s from MCE, along with L and whatever guy she was with that week. That was the awful summer, the start of my descent into the dark days. Then, I went down to that area for a political campaign event. After that, it was with A and her parents, and finally recently as part of a new student orientation. It seems like I’m on the verge of big life changes when I take the time to go down there, but then life settles in and doesn’t seem so big after all. What would constitute a big life change, anyway? More deaths in the family? Winning the lottery? Getting hired to work abroad? Of course, all of those things and then some. But, there is a part of me that is clearly resistant and not open to big changes. Of course, the negative ones like deaths in the family are never to be welcomed, but the fear of just about anything coming along to rock the boat always sets in after a few months have followed a medium-sized life change.
I don’t know why I thought about that trip so much, or the early days of Austin. Perhaps it’s just because I’m coming up on it being twenty years since I moved down here, and I’ve been slowly making my way through all of these journal entries that will lead me back to the late nineties. It could be that I am mostly astonished at how little I’ve changed on the inside. Any time I try to assess my inner landscape and derive some sense of having grown as a person, I fall short. I feel no different than I did when I was in my early twenties if I’m just sitting here, looking down at myself without paying too much attention to the gray hairs starting to appear on my arms. Of course, if I look in the mirror, the changes become a little more clear, but I could fool myself with this as well, by dyeing my hair and smoothing out a few of the rough spots on my face, and not scowling too much. Forty seems remarkably old to a person in their early twenties, and I suppose a lot of forty year olds have lived more than I have, but I don’t feel any exceptional clues or indicators that shout at me: sir, you have become decidedly wiser and more knowledgeable about all manner of things in these past twenty years.
There is, to be for sure, some degree of immaturity in my writing that comes forth. There is a marked departure from a lot of hopeful BS and wishful thinking after about the age of thirty, and some ironing out of whininess and edging over of griping about unfair treatment that takes place throughout my thirties. Eventually, by the time you see me writing over the past year, I tend to be as whiny and gripy as I probably will be until I die at 60, 80 or 100. At times I realize I come across a lot more pissed off and serious than I remember I was intending to be–I was trying to be ironic or poke fun at my own character flaws by magnifying them. Or, I was simply trying to state as plainly and clearly how I felt at that exact moment, and it was by no means how I felt all the time during that part of my life.
The question that comes up time and again as I work to put everything I’ve written into one WordPress instance is: will I be able to look back on all of it and see something akin to a great building–a work that I can be proud of–or will I just see the result of someone with too much free time on their hands and a propensity for graphomania? Will my culture in 100 years see my WP blog of journal entries that hopefully include all of my journal entries back to the age of ten and place it alongside a million other people who have done the exact same thing?