There are always things I want to do, like read, write, learn languages, exercise.
Can I become a different person?
Can I reinvent myself, for example, as someone who doesn’t care what people think? Can I be courageous, confident, happy?
Can a person change what he believes about himself or anything else?
I mean, I can’t choose to believe something that just doesn’t make sense to me, like that stuff about Jesus.
But can you be happy when you’re not? Can you be extroverted when you’re introverted? Can you be young again when you are old?
I had a saleswoman tell me recently that I was older than her. I think it was in the context of remembering the old days.
I didn’t want to be mean, but I thought I must have misheard her. “wait, are you saying that I’m older than YOU?”
She was 10 years older than me. She told me her age. And she looked it, if not more so. But, I get it. I work with someone who I consider my peer, because we work together, and so I was admittedly taken aback when she told me that I was the same age as her father.
We’re not constantly looking in the mirror, so how can we know how old we are? Isn’t it more important how we feel? As George Costanza said, “it’s not a lie, if you believe it.”
So, start over, if you need to.
Or at least rewrite your history. We are time travelers, all of us, and the older we are, the further back we can go to reinvent, not just who we are, but who we were too.
What if you can turn yourself from a person who failed a lot to someone who always succeeded, from one who regrets everything to someone who has always been grateful? Which one is fiction? Who’s to say? It may be as simple as remembering more of your successes than your (supposed) failures.
And even if I made up the fact that I had a wonderful life and it wasn’t true, does that matter if it helps me to reinvent who I am today?
I had a friend in 1984 named Larry Wachowski. He was a film student and a fanatic Cubs fan. He won a bet I made with him at the beginning of the 1984 season that my Mets, who had finished last the year before would finish better than his Cubs who finished second to last. I knew the Mets would do well, because they were bringing up a bunch of talent from the minors that year, Dwight Gooden, Lenny Dykstra. They had David Johnson, the manager they had played for in the minors, they had Darryl Strawberry, the 1983 rookie of the year.
But the Cubs ended up in first, and the Mets in second. When the Cubs clinched the division, Larry came to my dorm room with a bottle of Jack Daniels, – he had introduced JD to me – to celebrate. I called him an asshole, and then we drank it.
I liked who I was then, even though my team had lost, or at least I’m choosing to remember it fondly, and then I rooted for the Cubs in the playoffs.
When the Cubs lost the playoffs, Larry put his hand through a window pane.
Since then, he reinvented himself. I only know this because he’s kind of famous, not because I’ve kept in touch. He’s a girl now. Maybe she would say she was always a girl.
I thought about him when the Cubs finally won the World Series. And I wondered if she is as happy about it as he would have been. how much do you re-invent? Would she have put her hand through a window pane if they had lost again?
I hope so. Because you gotta like a girl like that.