It is May. 2017. I am 46.
I am 14 days from a return to the UK. I haven’t seen home in a number of years.
On this whirlwind trip around the UK I will also see a few friends that I haven’t seen for a long time. A couple of people, not since the end of the 80s/early 90s, I would estimate.
Last week, I watched the first 4 episodes of the new Twin Peaks season. I remember watching the first episode, back in 1990. I was living in the UK, in Trowbridge. 1990 was significant in my life for a number of reasons. I was recovering, a broken young man, just scraped through my teen years, from the end of my first love relationship. I was also on my path to becoming a ‘qualified’ artist. (I am not sure actually what makes one a qualified artist apart from a piece of paper after education).
Tonight, I watched T2, the follow-up to Trainspotting. That was released in 1996. By then, I was living in London, drifting aimlessly through my 20s, unsure of drive, direction, goals. I had quit university, half way through a degree course, my dreams of being a ‘qualified’ artist were dashed. I had been unemployed for a couple of years, adrift.
2 short years after that, I would leave the UK, and apart from a relatively short amount of time, I have been away from the UK since then. My life took me elsewhere.
Reccollection is a funny thing. It’s a kind of duality. There is the person that you have become, looking back at the person you were, but it’s still framed in a moment of time, filtered through a very singular perspective. Full of bias, influence, perspective, things remembered differently. Memories become stories, and those stories become layers of embellishment and difference.
The person that I am now feels like they are the same person then, connected by a single string of history. The 19 year old me is the 20s me is the 46 year old me. It is hard to perceive a difference, yet time and life etches and sculpts and transforms me.
The main character from T2 has a notable monologue where he talks about aging, he updates a speech made in his 20s. He talks about being ‘lost at 46’.
I googled the phrase ‘lost at 46’….I don’t know if it’s a testament to my search history, but all that came up was tech questions, inquiries to tech forums about an installation or a download freezing at 46 percent. I guess it’s a different kind of existential crisis, all things considered. Still, it was far from the aging issue I was looking for.
I don’t know if I am having a mid life crisis….actually, I don’t think I am, at least, not in the cliched ‘wear leather pants, date a teenager and buy a Harley Davidson’ way….but I do find myself questioning things more….my position in life, my place, where I came from, where I am heading, what came before, what next.
I will talk about the trip and my experiences more in following blogs…This introduction was started 2 weeks before leaving to reconnect with people, and was completed a few days after returning, so I am straddling this post both in the past of unanswered questions and expectations, and the present of fulfilment.
I am not sure what I want to say with this particular entry….if there was a particular point to get across. I see myself experiencing those films and TV shows in the context of first experiencing them, as a young man, as re-experiencing them later in life with different levels of experience and age colouring the re-telling of the tales, and also experiencing the new content, just as the creators and actors approach their work from different areas in their life further down the road.
I will say that on the whole, meeting people I haven’t seen for 20, 30 years was still like picking up the sentence we had half completed back then. The line was generally unbroken, the changes inconsequential in the bigger picture. We had all changed and evolved, and yet comfortable in the ‘sameness’ of the situation. I think that’s also why people revisit their old works…to live in that same level of comfort and creativity, and expand on their stories with new layers of experience and hindsight.