The Kids Inside Us

No, I’m not pregnant. Thanks for asking though. No, my wife is not pregnant either. And no, I’m not going to go on about some alien life force living inside all of us humans just waiting to burst through our chests at the dinner table. The title refers more to a sense of self than an actual physical statement.

Last week I got out of the shower and looked in the mirror. I was surprised to see the beard that hung on my face. I’ve only been growing it a couple months and since the itchy stage had diminished, there was no reason to believe it was attached at all. This sort of thing happens when you grow a beard without having one previously. It’s almost like seeing yourself 2 days after a fresh haircut and going “Oh Yeah, I got my hair cut.” You can’t see the top of your head so it’s just one of the things you forget about.

The same would be true of aging and growing. I see my kids changing and growing because they are shorter than I am. Almost like watching a nature show, they are growing before my very eyes. Every day I see them, they look slightly different. I can’t help but wonder what they’ll look like a decade from now and then a decade after that. What will their ugly duckling phase look like? What about when Margot turns into a full fledged woman or Jude a full grown man?

Starting from the age of 10, I was pudgy and awkward for a very long time. By the time I was 18 I had learned to embrace that look, and run with it. Ten years later now I can’t help but feel the same way. I’ll be walking down the street with my kids and wondering what people see as they drive by. Yes, Yes, I know “It doesn’t matter what they think.” Very true, but I am human and I am curious. What do people see? I think what those drivers see is my 12 year old self. I’m wearing baggy hand me downs and have a nice bowl shaped haircut. I come adorned with thick lensed, wiry glasses (picture that..HA!). I walk like my legs have just sprouted from my ass. Imagine my surprise when I catch my reflection on a glass pane: A tall (or giant if you ask my mother), full grown, almost 30 year old man. Complete with clothes that fit and a walk of confidence.

I guess what I’m trying to ask is: do we ever feel like we’re grown adults? What does it take? I completed school, I did the college thing, I got married, had kids, hold a steady job, pay my bills (mostly on time) and make real world decisions that affect other people. Yet, I picture myself as a child walking down the street. This isn’t to say I’m insecure about how I look. I’ll admit I’m a bit narcissistic, I look good. I am very happy with how I turned out. But, why oh why are we haunted by our awkward selves?

When I’m sixty, will I feel like i look 30? I fucking hope so.

Just a thought to ponder.

-AF

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