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The other day I ran across one of those questions which are supposed to get you to think about yourself in a self-reflective way. Most of these pop-psychology ponders are rubbish but I thought this one had some value:

What is true about you today that would make your 8-year-old self cry?

I sat down with him over a cup of tea (yes he drinks tea) and we discussed it. He asked what was I doing and I replied. My 8yo self was mostly shocked by my 56yo self but he didn’t cry much – a good sign. However there are a few exceptions:

I am not now working as a ‘dinosaur expert’ nor am I an astronomer, both lamentable to the lad who was gung-ho in his passion to be one or the other. In my defense I continue to be interested in both topics and science in general, so the little twerp wasn’t too disappointed.

I no longer play the piano, which was awful news to Spo-8. That certainly got him to tears.  “You mean all those years of practice when I could have been doing something else is for nothing?”  Yes, I’m sorry to say. He was saddened but I had to admit I am not.

Seriously now, he was quite saddened by my lack of book-reading. In my youth I could not read enough; nowadays I struggle to read a book a month. The tyke say this as horrible and worse than growing up gay. He saw it as a sign ‘growing up’ is not worth it. 

He teared up to hear about all the places I haven’t traveled to see. It was a sort of Monty Python Cheese Shop Sketch as he asked have I gone to see X: ‘no”. He was especially sad about the Northern European places like Norway and Sweden.  “You made a promise” he pointed out between the tears. 

He reminded me he is so excited about growing up to the capability of cooking as many creative dishes as possible and not eat mundane and repetitive rubbish as he eats now. He was amazed by many things I eat now. He had never heard of most of them – but he added ‘but are you cooking anything new NOW?” He had a point. 

Reading, traveling, and cooking can be lumped into the common category of constrains of Time. I tried to explain I have only so much free time to do things. The 8yo Spo said he sort of understood but ended our tea party with a Parthian shot saying it sounded a threadbare excuse. In the parallel universe where he is growing up he will be traveling and cooking and reading thank you very much.

The goal of the question is of course to get in touch with the negligences and shortcomings of ones life and try to recapture some of these things before it is too late. I may not be able to travel/cook/read as much as my 8yo self would like me to do but I can do better. Both of us can feel a bit better for it.  

What is true about you today that would make your 8-year-old self cry? Please tell me in the comment section. 

 

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