I was scrolling through the blog posts here after posting yesterday just to make sure everything was working OK and I stopped to look at the picture I posted of my grandmother and a three year old version of me.
That little boy is dead. He exists nowhere other than in that photograph and various others just like it. I guess I could fish around in a box and find a photograph of me at 15 and say the same thing. That teenager is dead too.
But as you get a little bit further into adulthood, I can’t say the same thing. I don’t have many photographs of my early twenties but I recognise that guy. A lot of him is still around but maybe a lot of him isn’t too. Fast forward a little to a thirty year old me and I would say that was definitely the same guy as I am today. Maybe it’s because I became a father and identified myself as such. Even though the tiny badgers are much older now, I still think of myself in the same way.
I haven’t grown taller or shrunk - that makes me similar by default. I haven’t put on or lost five stone and I’m pretty sure I still have some of the same clothes from back then too (that happens when you buy expensive coats). I also still have all my hair thanks to a handy deal I made with a demon. That guy really is still here apart from subconsciously deciding to change said hair colour from black to grey… and yet, he can’t be.
He must be dead too.
The guy I was yesterday must also be dead. That I got up today and decided to do all the same things that I did yesterday is all that makes him similar… but maybe I could get up tomorrow and do everything different. I could kill that guy rather than let him die a natural death. I could kill him for better or worse in the blink of an eye.
I could shave off my beard and shave my head for a start. Nobody would look at me the same then and I don’t think I would recognise myself in the mirror either. That would take about 20 minutes. Strange thought huh.
I could go shopping, buy clothes I have never bought before, throw all my books in the trash, delete my thousands of albums from Apple Music, put a hammer through my phone, give my car away, quit my job… all of this could be done in the next few hours and to the rest of the world I would cease to exist.
If you were going extreme about it, I could walk out of the door, get on a train and start a new life somewhere hundreds of miles away and I really would be somebody else. This is actually more or less what I did at 20 but all I found was no matter how hard you try, how far you run or how fast, you can’t run away from yourself, but that’s not the point…
What I’d like to do is identify that moment in which the middle period version of me might turn into a very much older one. Whoever that guy is, I’m going to keep an eye out for him and murder him to death before he gets a grip on my life because I don’t want to be that guy.
I see some people on a daily basis who are 70 (which is a fair old chunk of time in the future really) who seem ancient. Then I look at Alice Cooper who is out on the road, doing his thing, being creative, doing his radio show, playing golf… generally not being 70 at all in a way people usually interpret it.
I think it’s called being alive.
That’s the kind of person I must be. It’s the kind of person you must be too.
And when you’ve finished reading this… you’ll find your first mistake is thinking you have all the time in the world.