Friday, November 14, 2008

The Angry Young Man

(navel gazing post)
In the past few months, I've been a little surprised at myself. Some things that would have greatly upset me in my younger days now they seem to roll off my back. I'm mostly talking about little stuff like losing poker sessions or personality clashes, bad breaks at work or lost political races. Used to be those types of incidents would dig down deep under my skin and bring up reactions that were not so appropriate. Now it happens much less often.

I like to think Dr. K has something to do with that. Having a happy home life to fall back on will sooth many an emotional cut or scrape. I'd like to think growing up might also have some part in the change. I was reminded of that by a song I heard on the radio recently. It was a song that my high school and pole vault buddy FrankieX used to play on the tape deck in his car (radio? tape deck? Yea, I'm dating myself. I know). He was a big Billy Joel fan, even back before The Stranger came out, so many of the early Billy Joel songs are the songs from my childhood.

This particular song was, as the title of this post suggests, Angry Young Man. In those days, I saw myself somewhat proudly as that AYM and couldn't really understand folks who didn't get "really involved". Because I can still remember my old reaction to that song, the difference in who I am now really comes into focus. The bridge of the song really hit me. Here are those words (40 somethings feel free to sing along):

I believe I've passed the age
of conscientiousness and righteous rage
I've found that just surviving is a noble fight
I once believed in causes too
Had my pointless point of view
and life when on no matter who was wrong or right

What used to sound like surrender now sounds more like a badge of honor. I'm not totally past poor reactions and probably never will be. Although, sometimes it is helpful to be able to tap into the old me when a strong reaction seems necessary so long as I know the difference.

I haven't heard from Frankie in a few years and often miss the old days of pole vaulting and cassette tapes, but today's adventure is a better one in every way.

On with the adventure.

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