Let's start by saying, "I'm not getting better. I'm getting older." Or something like that. Today is my 64th birthday. My gift to myself was to take a fleeting look at the Pacific Ocean as I came through Ventura, CA. I'm spending the weekend with one of my clients north of there.
So what is it that I get?
I get the "Do Over" story. I see, know, and understand why it is so appealing to people of a certain age. By extension, I also understand why we seem to love stories about teens and college students. My own stories are mostly about college students (The Model Student series, my new "Props Master" story, for example.) It's not that we necessarily regret our youth, but certainly we miss it.
That's a royal "we" that really means "me."
How often have I sighed, "If I knew then what I know now . . ." Of course, I'm pretty amazed that the people transported back in time to do their lives over all remember so much. Dates and times of significant events, for example. I have no idea who won the Superbowl in 1965, what the date of the Hunt Brothers attempt to corner the market in silver, when a particular airline crashed, or when Walmart went public. (Did they?) I'd have pretty limited resources if I went back in time since I'd only know a few significant facts and a lot of emotional chaos.
And how many of the same mistakes would I make as a result?
If I were to live my life over. Hmm. Well, first off, I don't see any sense in going back to a time when I was six, ten, or sixteen. For the most part, I think that the do over stories about a sixteen year old only give him that age so it's plausible for him to fuck 14, 15, and 16-year-old virgins. Frankly, none of those ages interest me at all nor am I that interested in fucking a virgin. That age was miserable for me and as far as I could tell, it was miserable for most of the girls I knew as well. Me taking their virginity, even in a loving and caring way, would not have helped them.
On the other hand, eighteen, when I was in college, would be a great time to return to. Except, I'd really rather it be sometime after the draft ended or at least after I won the lottery. (Draft lottery: #238) That way I could cut my class load to something that simply interested me instead of a major. And the girls in college were prettier, more interested, and more willing. That was 1968-72.
Secondly, I'd like to have two pieces of my current knowledge. One is condoms and birth control and deadly disease (STD and AIDS). With as many girls as I would be inclined to fuck, I'd hate to get saddled with a wife, kid, and mortgage before I was 20. And if I knew that wife, kid, and mortgage didn't have to follow fucking, I'd be even more inclined to do it.
The other piece of information would be the benefit and joy of non-accumulation. If only I knew that collections of glass, books, art, furniture, unicorns, and other knick-knacks was such a waste of time and energy. If I wasn't so busy trying to "earn a living" so I could have all that crap, I might have been more inclined to simply do the things I love, right from the get-go.
Of course, a couple other things might have been important to me--a better sense of satisfaction in carefully completing a project, a focus on the quality of my work rather than just the quantity, the basic philosophy of being good to other people.
I don't think I'd have become a great world-changer. I would likely not have had a talent for making tons of money or for magic or for predicting the future. But I think I'd have fucked more and masturbated less. I'd have saved more and spent less. I'd have traveled more. I'd have loved more.
So, here's to the next 64 years. I'll see if I've learned anything.