The man I was then

For some reason or another I was motivated this morning to search back ten years and read what I had written here in this blog in November, 2005.

I was living in Brisbane at the time. I was there for an indifferent 12 months, which I look back upon as a necessary experience. I lived in a large apartment near the river in Tenerife. I caught the bus to and from work everyday, where I was largely under-employed. Because I had so much time on my hands I crafted long and frequent blog posts. If that November is typical then my blog writing was so much more interesting then. There’s some seriously good staff there.

Of course you remember much as you read about long ago times. You remember things. You see things in your mind’s eye. You remember what it was like. Then there are things you don’t remember and wish you did – a passing encounter with someone called Emily, for example. And naturally you can’t help but read of things ten years in the past and compare them to today.

Unfortunately by that analysis things have gone downhill in a big way. If you were to graph my relative success from then to now it would show a steady rise that edged up steeper and steeper until it was near vertical – until abruptly it plunged, like a jet gone beyond its atmosphere. I’m not sure that I’ve yet pulled up, but I haven’t hit the ground yet.

Ten years works out to be a long time. Your circumstances change, and so to do you. I wasn’t particularly happy in Brisbane. I felt lost often, and out of place. The social culture I’d come from in Melbourne was barely present there. I had encounters, I did things, but there was little flow. At work I was bored, and uncertain this is what I wanted to do anyway. And then I got sick, and was finally diagnosed with bronchiectasis. I was not a happy camper, and needed to get back to Melbourne.

No doubt I’m a lot tougher character these days, but less whimsical too. Back then I had no real notion of failure. I knew I was smart, and had no reason to believe that one day I might wither on the vine. I fully expected, without really thinking about it, that I would continue to prosper, that my career would continue to advance, and that the things I aspired to personally would in due course be all mine.

Now I write with those things behind me. Some happened to some degree, then failed, and some not at all. If I allow myself I become upset at what feels to me lost years. In retrospect I feel as if that just as I was about to get to the things that I had put off the crash came. I couldn’t then go forward then, and haven’t allowed myself since. I’ve lost four years and counting, and now it’s probably too late. Perhaps I should have hung on to Emily.

I figure there might be some re-writing of history in that assessment – was I really ready? It holds true though in general.

As I am apt to say, it is what it is. That’s what you realise. Ten years on and I’m in another era. Somewhere back there I crossed a line. It;s like what I wrote a week ago. It was buy time then, I was in the middle of it and knew it as my entitlement. It’s not my time now. It’s someone else’s entitlement.

I know that sounds depressing. At this point I would generally end on a positive note. That’s my way. Having crept so close to the edge I withdraw from it and proclaim I’ll never go over the edge. I feel it, a robust defiance. I set myself, well this has happened, this is done, but I still have the future. True enough too. I can’t undo the past.

I’m not going to indulge in that today. There’s no big words. I just have to grind it out and win where I can.


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