By Bill Dunn
I made the mistake of looking at a few old family photo albums the other day. If you ever have an overwhelming need to feel older in a hurry nothing will do it quicker.
Well maybe with the exception of stumbling on some unexpected vintage photos of yourself on Facebook. That can do the trick as well. They are usually thanks to those who have a burning desire to continually relive those four years they spent in high school, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but being the mad hatter that I am, it is not my cup of tea.
The pictures of me from my high school era I barely remember. So when I look at them today they feel completely surrealistic, as though it’s not me.
No, it’s the ones that are from twenty to twenty five years ago that really get to me. That’s a period of time that I can remember vividly, even though there are large chunks that I probably shouldn’t, it is still how I imagine myself to be in my mind’s eye.
So as I flipped through the albums looking at myself when I was thin, my hair was long and still dark, I wondered, how did this happen so fast? It’s like it was just yesterday that I didn’t have kids and was dressed like, well, dressed like the rest of the twenty something 80’s geeks, but boy did I think I was stylin’.
You could see it in my eyes and in the eyes of everyone else my age in every picture in the album. We all had that youthful swagger. Every generation does. Then we always look back later and say “What the hell were we thinking?”.
Then, as if that little trip down memory lane wasn’t traumatic enough, I noticed in the cupboard next to the photo albums there were stacks of home videos from when my marriage and kids were young. Being the masochist that I am I started watching a few of them.
It was fun to see the kids as toddlers again now that they are 21 and 23 years old. The conversations from back then are nothing like they are now. They were a bit more one sided. In those days it was harder to communicate , but those exchanges had their advantages. They were usually free of any type of disagreement or debate.
Luckily I was the one doing the majority of the filming so this journey wasn’t as painful as the photo albums because I was out of view for the most part. Just like that period of time, my cinematic odyssey had to come to an end, and back into the cupboard the videos went.
Then came the thoughts that I share with everyone my age and older. Whenever I look into the mirror or at a current picture I think, who is that? It kind of looks like me except I’ve swollen and my hair is grayer.
I suppose I could dye my hair in an effort to turn back the hands of time, but that’s not me. The hair may be getting thinner, but I’m not a Rogaine type of guy either. If the day comes when my head is more scalp than hair I will definitely have to go the Bruce Willis/Andre Agassi route.
Things that used to look silly to me now take on a new view. Like when I see commercials for AARP or a Hoveround on TV or get those spam emails from the Scooter Store. I find myself paying a little closer attention and they’re not quite as humorous as I once thought. Now I look at them as being more on the informative side and something that may be useful in the near future.
Then when I realize what my mind is doing and I want to slap myself. It may be the still lingering Peter Pan complex I can’t seem to shake, but regardless of what my body is doing I still don’t want to grow up.
I am glad the pictures and the videos still exist and that they were taken out for a brief perusal. Most of you who still have them do what I do. We leave them hidden in a dark cupboard, forgotten, until we are motivated to go down that road. In this case I was asked to find some pictures of my sister Sue and so this little search began. It can be something as simple as that to open the door to your own adventure down the rabbit hole of memories.
Once you do it, beware. The next thing you know you will be calling Lifestyle Lift because Debbie Boone told you to do so on a commercial you just saw.
Bill Dunn has been a published opinion columnist for 14 years. Any comments can be sent to either our exalted editor at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Bill directly at email@example.com You can also find Bill on Facebook at : www.facebook.com/WhenAllisSaidandDunn.