A conversation with my past self
Beautifully interesting perspective
Took me back in your own unique way that then becomes universal.
Such an interesting challenge, writing this introspection. You have inspired me to try it myself. Thank you, Lyle!
I think what I appreciate most about this is how gentle that conversation is. There isn't accusation or disgust. It's an exercise in gratefulness for your past experiences, and an acknowledgement of how much you've grown.
"I haven’t ever pictured myself as a father. Yet I see you doing your best given your difficult situation. You’re working hard to pave a unique career path, all the while keeping your family’s future at the forefront of your mind. The amount of things you’re juggling at once is staggering."
This line is my favorite. This is one of the hardest things as an adult, a parent. I don't even know you, but reading this makes me want to say it too! It's amazing, the work you're doing. This is a wonderful story, humorous, yet it brought a tear to my eye.
I like how the conversation keeps coming back to that iPhone, something anyone with the least bit of curiosity about the future would be aching to know more about in the 80s and 90s. To quote John Gruber, “Smartphones replaced everything Radio Shack sold 30 years ago: still cameras, video cameras, music players, radios, alarm clocks, calculators, tape recorders, and, yes, cellular dumbphones.”
Remember photography? You purchased a roll of film with the desired ASA and exposure count, loaded it into your camera, which you lugged around until you’d used up the film, then mailed or dropped it off to be developed, choosing the size and number of prints you wanted / could afford, which you wouldn’t even see until days later. Whew, what a lot of bother that had little to do with taking pictures.
Has this resulted in better photographs? Or the word processor better writing? Probably not, but it has eliminated a lot of frustration and tedium. Now I suppose the question is how to spend all those freed-up hours.
What a great illustration of the voice of innocence / voice of experience concept. I can't wait to use this as a writing prompt for a future class! "Distinguished or extinguished." Ouch. I resemble that remark.
Incidentally, one thing that younger writers struggle with is the absence of this kind of awareness. Even at age 21, many young people simply don't have enough distance from their younger selves to see them clearly. They can't really leverage the voice of experience for much. This is why so many of them would write about things like their parents' divorce, because there was a clear before/after structure that seemed like innocence/experience. But many of them were still living with the relatively innocent pain of those ruptures.
This is now making me wonder about meaning making and age. I suppose distance doesn't always give us wisdom, but it certainly gives us a different kind of meaning than we see when we're still up close to the events that we're writing about.