Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Needed To Write This for Me: You are welcome along.

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.


Janelle said...

This is a brilliant post. A very personal, but very lovely thing to share. That beind said, Dave, you should have written a warning to those of us who were geared up for a "new start/new life day". ;) I had myself convinced that Thursday was going to be the new Monday in the diet world. Now, I just feel silly and very aware that my old self is still going to surround me. Especially seeing as I intending on trying to squeeze into a pair of dress pants this morning that may not necessarily welcome the old me. Joking aside, this post will leave me thinking for some time to come. Those are always the best posts. Thanks for that!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Dave.

Noisyworld said...

It takes maturity and wisdom to see each "new start" as just a sign-post along the route of life :)

Anonymous said...

Oh Dave,

over many times I struggled to embrace my old and my new self.

Good to know that I am not the only one being self-conscious. (Hope I got that sentence right, it is hard to translate it...)

Cheering you on on your journey through life! Go on!


Anonymous said...

Good Morning Dave,
Thank you for sharing this. I admire your ability to do such hard work on your own development. I think most of us never take the time to reflect and then we miss so much that could be learned from such reflection.

theknapper said...

Love this.

Nan said...

Absolument and totally. But also, as I get older, I realize that each day, each moment, each breath is also a new beginning. While I am not a new person, and I have learned (with great difficulty and struggle) to love me here now and with all my history, I do try to approach each moment as a fresh new moment so I can be fully present to it. Again, I'm not very good at it, but hope to get better, as each, day, moment, breath, person offers me a new opportunity to see with clear eyes. To be fully present to the gift and grace being offered.

Belinda said...

No fair making me think so hard on Friday. It is the weekend you know! :)

So thought provoking.

Belinda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baba Yaga said...

Ahh. 8-)

I'm betting life will actually become just a little more comfortable for that understanding.

Can't help thinking that all those 'new starts' gave you room to grow into the person who accepts the single whole. Nice to outgrow the training wheels.

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

It is amazing that although there may have been some new starts in your life (in all our lives really) there is still the thread of the essential Dave there - old Dave, new Dave both have the essence of Dave. Do the new starts help us to clarify the essence of who we really are?

Love your thought provoking post. You haven't posted for a couple of days. I hope it is because you are having a fabulous but relaxing time.