i sometimes worry, when i choose calm nights in over late nights out, over opportunities for wild adventure, over the unknown, that i’m letting an older version of myself down. i’ve seen my future. i know my path leads ultimately back from the concrete canopies of the city into the hushed breeze, fir tree, mule deer, muted steps, evergreen forests i grew up in. i know that old man finds the kind of peace i have been desperate for since i was young, and he will hold it in his arms and carry it with him as he wearily and contentedly and dutifully ambles along his mountain trails. he will hold close that peace and contentment with a steel and quiet sureness cultivated over uncountable years of seeking it. an inured master in defending his composure.

i love that old man very much. i think about him often, and while i do covet his soulful peace for myself, i aspire to make him feel as proud of me as i feel of him. i’m learning new ways to care for the body he’s loaned me, and i do my best to act with his sureness — with passion but without reaction, with logic but not without emotion.

but i am still young, still temperamental and neurotic, and i am often scared of feelings or experiences when i cannot imagine how the old man would face them. i fear i have boarded many doors in case i didn’t like the solicitor behind them. i’m embarrassed of my timidness; as of yet i will give him few stories of dancing, of sex and crime, of drinking and swashbuckling and brigrandry. the stories he will recount of the time i’ve spent for him are of nights of video games and thai takeout and reading books on the subway and clicking through menus on a television. i’m not proud of this lore. it’s not what i want to give him. i couldn’t bear it if he turned back to witness the life i’ve lived for him and felt regret.

it will be a balance to craft better stories for the old man without being unkind to the heart of the young one. but i will learn that balance — i will borrow his peace without hoarding it; i will feel exhilaration without terror in moments of risk and uncertainty. i will not let him be restless and resentful of his younger self for not living enough when the body was able. i will give him the serenity of having earned his quietness of soul.
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