I am not the man I use to be

This one is long,,,and not long in a good way. Boring…unless you like math mixed with your introspection. And in the end helped me better understand myself and to a degree some relationships. Feel free to stop now.
So title sums it up…got it? Ok good then enough said. Often when people reference someone not being who or what they use to be it’s done so as a negative thing. You may want to write this down because for once I’m not the proverbial ominous black slightly demonic rain cloud.
Though in fairness it took a series of things for me to realize that I had changed, rather significantly, for the most part unintentionally and maybe just maybe for the better.
It really all started at dinner with Ignored Dad a few weeks back (or 8 by the time I got this polished and published). I was discussing a briefing (inset diatribe about geo political business bull shit if so inclined) and some very detailed things about work. It was the kind of thing that 9 months ago seemed insurmountable, 6 months ago overwhelming, 3 months ago was irritating and now it’s simply normal, routine, part of life not requiring anything extraordinary.
Then on a Sunday night while throwing clothes in to a suitcase and bitching about the intensity of my travel in the coming months. The Blonde looked at me “I’ve only been to California that one time for two weeks and never to any of the other cities there.” She was uncharacteristically a little curt on the topic. I stopped and thought. There are large parts of 3 cities in the state that feel almost like home at times (San Fran, San Jose area, LA) and two more that seem at the very least familiar and comfortable (Sac and San Diego). And dozens more in other places.
That’s when it hit me for as well traveled as she is compared to most “normal” people if you consider The 40+ weeks a year over 15 years in a places I don’t live it’s no wonder there is a vastly different perspective than a lot of people and one that is always evolving.
Essentially having not been home for 11+ of those 14 years based on that math. So deciding to refine it 4 days a week which is closer to right over the same period it comes out to 6 1/2 years. That still is a world of difference.
This brings two analogies to mind. The cliché of the shallow superficial things men look for in second wives…younger, fitter, bigger boobs, a huge, insatiable, and a diverse personal library…ok that last one might have been a bit of improvisation. Maybe not the best fit but i can see how after obtaining a level of material success those things might have a certain luster for many. In particular the library!
Perhaps the second one is a more accurate fit. A few years back there was a piece that showed how kids with natural abilities in sports at a young age widened the talent gap a little more each year they played over the less talented or dedicated kids. Sure hard work and passion made the difference. The jist of it was players who were better at a young age got to play more in games, run the drills an extra time or two in practice with other more skilled players. Additionally the were more likely to spend their free doing other things even if it was playing pick up or other sports that would further change their game for the better.
Just looking at my own life let’s say that there was one new person I interacted with each day in the six and a half years i have been away. Maybe a cabbie, a CEO, the maid, a scientist or savant, a barista or banker. Some of the conversations might be transactional, some may be deep, others just banter and some educational. So out of those 2,300 conversations over 6 years if only 10% were meaningful that still leaves 39 opportunities a year for insight, intellect, opinions, and well-founded differing positions to influence your perspective, understanding and world view.
Sorry for all the math but in a way this is as much for me as anything. In my life the number of interactions with new people is roughly 5 times what’s listed above. And the meaningful conversations with a person for the first time is still in the range of 50 people a year. (I meet a lot of people) Add to that ongoing dialogue with several, reading and research along with exposure to others you don’t directly engage with.
It became something to really consider. I use to worry about sports teams records. I still like sports but worry about currency and economic conditions. The latest album or tour was gospel to me now they’re diversions at best (the Lords of Acid excluded). I used to read the local newspaper and watch the nightly news now i read analyst reports, government publications, academic and other briefs.
When we went to grade school we had one or two teachers during the day. By high school we had a different person for every class in college you had a Prof for a course or two but rarely more. Now I’m surrounded by specialists, experts, and people who are brilliant in their own areas and just get to drink it in as fast as possible, internalize it then leverage that knowledge.
Friends aren’t just kids from the same neighborhood or city any more. Now they’re not even from the same country or industry. In many ways it’s an exceptional life. I not only understand but appreciate the opportunities.
So when interest change, and things aren’t what they use to be it only takes a few seconds to step back. I am still the same person with the same core beliefs as always. Some are far more informed, some of what matters isn’t what use to be important and in some cases things are dramatically different. After all the experiences in every part of life how could they stay the same?
So looking ahead it’s inside two years on the next big step professionally. That my look has to evolve. Different cuts of clothing, the pressure not just to get back into shape but to be more or less rail thin (or in my case middle linebacker like). Additional education both formal and experience based learning. All demands on my time and my mind, all wonderful but the matter of fitting it all in is the challenge.
And it’s not all work i have really been open and shared myself with others. Some amazing and important friendships/relationships have been formed from that continue to grow. Those are the things that bring me solace, keep me warm at night and make life far less lonely. And occasionally break my heart.
So it’s a Friday night and I’m sitting at a bar with the Blonde. I’d only spent maybe 5 hours with her in three weeks so there was a lot to catch up on. Some day to day operations and some bigger picture. I tried my best to explain how my world was changing, that what is expected of me will only increase. How it was having a person chase me from meeting to meeting to keep me on task, what it was like to have a virtual travel companion (a topic for another time) and how it had forced me to look at the insanity of my own pace.
Somewhere between oh BTW I bought into a new start up and you’ll never guess who called? She asked if I was becoming snobby? It was a fair question, which I think the answer to is no but I do have higher expectations of things, people, and quality. Despite this rambling post I’ve become a better and more succinct communicator.
. My life abroad to date is nothing in comparison to what it is now becoming. So the only thing that is certain is more things will change and I may be a fraction of myself in terms of mass in six months and an expediential of my current perspective as well.
There is no doubt we all change in some ways over time. Looking closely without question I am nowhere near the man I use to be…and it seems this ride is only starting

4 Replies to “I am not the man I use to be”

  1. It’s strange to me when I reflect on the changes my own life has brought. The last four years have made me quieter, meeting less people, and having less opportunity to converse with people. Is is any wonder I turned to writing and considering bloggers friends? Once I am more settled in my life (perhaps two more years from now?) I will be able to do the math as you have done and have the opportunities for learning and being influenced by others.
    In the meantime, I’m a bit envious. I love travel and meeting new people (good for a military spouse, I suppose), only I haven’t been doing it as much because I am a military spouse in a transitioning stage with my husband’s career.
    I am glad that you view most of these interactions and changes in a positive (or at least neutral) viewpoint.

  2. I will admit to be envious of the opportunity to travel so much and yet, recent communications has allowed me to realise how it must also be bloody hard work on someone both physically and mentally and also with regards relationships with others. I would love to see more of the world and meet people along the way but as part of a business life…. well I just don’t think I have it in me…. which is probably why you are doing it and I am not. As for change, well it happens no matter what. 10 yrs ago I had a 2 and a 6 yr old and I was married…. in my head I would have said happily so, even though that was not true. Now I am married, and this time it is happily so but if you had told that me, 10 years ago, what life would have been like now there is no way I would have believed you. I think the one thing I have really learned through all this though is that life is so terribly precious and can be gone in a blink of a eye. Being happy is the most important thing, the rest is just blah blah

  3. Pingback: My Mini Vice

Comments are closed.