you move with them

“Do you think he will learn something from it?”

I am talking with someone a couple years older than me, about someone my age, and we both smile, one of those shared looks that communicates a thousand unspoken words of common understanding. We both know exactly what we hope “he” will learn.

Other early-twenties bloggers, too, I wonder how many older readers shake their heads at us and think we are darling. Overthinkers, every last one of us, and leaning hard into whatever identity we’ve chosen and telling everyone all about our childhood, “what it was like growing up”, like we aren’t still trying to grasp it back from whomever relegated it to the “things we’re done with” bin.

I wonder what I’m pressing onto this space with such intensity that in five or ten years I will shake my head at myself, softly smiling at all the things I needed you to know about me.

When you are older you know a few things about yourself, the essentials of who you are that won’t change, and you know that change is inevitable for all the rest; even that you cannot always see the change until it’s already happened because things just come, and you move with them, and the seasons wear us all into our different patterns like trees. But when you are young and an overthinker, the future seems like something you might fall into – one minute peering over the edge, next minute thudding onto the bottom – and you tiptoe around the chasm securing yourself to various Things You Know and Things You Want To Be. You think you will fall slower and better than everyone else with their regrets.

I don’t think I will stop trying to live my life on purpose, or trying to anticipate everything, or overthinking in my quest to live the very best life I can. Those are things I like about myself.

But I am letting go of the need to be grown, to Educate People and Fix Things, to give more than I have or to force an outcome to conform to my expectations.

Things just come, and you move with them, and the seasons wear us all into our different patterns like stones, and I know he will learn what he needs to and the gashing edge will smooth into an intriguing, beautiful bevel.

Things just come, and you move with them, and the seasons wear us all into our different patterns like riverbeds, and I know when it is finished mine will be deep and clear as the night sky in Adrian, Georgia, which is the closest place I know to God.

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  1. As one in his late thirties, I have from time to time looked back on journals and other writings from earlier years–and, of course, by journals and other writings I don’t mean anything like “blogs” (although I did engage in society in computer bulletin board systems back in the day, there is no record left of those anyway)–and I am struck by how much of an extension of that boy and young man I am now. Perhaps I was an overthinker, as you call those inclined to explore it all through these words, by nature rather than by product of culture or technology. If anything has changed, my facility with words has improved, my ideas have become refined (although at their core they are not changed all that much), and I have become more well-mannered. Visiting the sorrows of my youth in some old writings, however, recently, I see that many of those sorrows have remained my companions as I see middle age on the horizon.

    Perhaps you too will be surprised some ten or twenty years from now by what will have remained with you, particularly if you should hold on to some record of what you are writing now.

    • It will certainly be interesting to discover what things are essential, and what are auxiliary, to who I am. I’m not sure I would have been right about that several years ago. Thanks for that perspective!


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