As I've gotten older, I've come to believe that it's important to embrace and accept my own personal history. It is my job to incorporate into my life and my mind all that was, I believe that it prepares me for all that will be. I've had a hard time coming to this point of view. I've kept giving my life false ends and new starts. I've kept revising my history not be denying that anything happened or that I did anything I did, I just kept moving the marker forward.
The day I moved from Salmo.
The day I met Joe.
The day I graduated from University.
The day I moved out east.
All these real events took on a new and different marker: starting new.
I wasn't new the day after any of these, I was, of course, the same old me struggling to become a better new me. I figured the way to be better is to banish the past. I tried to make any new beginning smell like new books on the day after Labour Day. I tried to make my new beginnings feel like new shoes made for walking a new path.
It never worked, of course, the old me just kept barging through the newness. My old fingers scribbled on the new pages, my old fork dropped cherry pie on my new shoes. As much as I tried and failed at new starts, new denials, new detachments, they never workd.
Then, yesterday, Joe (who has provided more 'new start' opportuntities than any other single event or person in my life - he really is the kind of guy you want to be better for) handed me a picture that had fallen out of one of the files in my briefcase. I looked at it and was really, really, startled. It was a picture of me about the give a lecture, The picture was taken from far, far, away so you can see it's a really big hall. I don't remember where this was, but the hall is beautiful. Really, really, beautiful. I am on stage:
It's been five years since the wheelchair so it must be more than 5 years ago. It startled me, deeply. There are few pictures of me around in my stuff, others have more pictures of me than I do, and so this one came out of the blue. My self image had evolved to being one of a lecturer who travels extensively, SITTING DOWN, and here I was standing. I can tell the picture is take just before I was about to speak. I could tell that the Dave in the picture could not imagine being wheelchair Dave finding the picture. Well, wheelchair Dave had just as much difficulty relating to him.
I've looked at that picture a few times now, knowing that that moment in time is just as full of 'Dave Now' as was any moment of my childhood, adolescence and youth. It's just all me. There was one start, one path, and, ultimately, one destination. The course I take has options and choices, but the feet that walk, the wheels that roll that path, were walked and rolled by me.
Being all of me, from the start, requires something of me that is hard, to acknowledge. Responsibility for knowing what I've been taught, wisdom that comes from having toiled through darkness and found my way, and a kind of mature joy that comes from having been there in the beginning, having been there in the middle, and being there peeking over towards the end.
For me, I hereby give up the, new starts and accept that the journey, all of it, is mine.