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[personal profile] jkmoreno
 As my social horizons have ... well, if not broadened back to their previously illusory range, then at least started the process of doing so, I find myself aware that quite a bit of time has passed since the last time I really stopped to think about it.

Back in the days when I was blogging regularly, times were very different. If you were working full-time on minimum wage, you -might- have been able to make a living on your own, as opposed to it being flat-out impossible now. Things like Bluetooth and broadband internet may have existed, but were not the norm nor were necessary for function in the internet of the day. The PS2 didn't dominate (though by the time I stopped blogging regularly it was). Cell phones didn't have cameras, and some couldn't even have polyphonic ringtones. Twitter and YouTube didn't exist, and MySpace and Facebook were still newborns.

And in those days, I was remembering how 56K dial-up internet was revolutionary and the only real games in town were Netscape and AOL. I was remembering a time when a lot of things that are staples now didn't exist, like MP3s and DVDs. Anime and manga as we knew it were pretty much confined to Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z in the mainstream and some niches otherwise. People thought that the Power Rangers were completely original creations.

In either case, the general area I'm trying to go with this is that a lot of time has passed, and there have been a lot of changes. Not just in technology and trends, but in people. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the not-better. The majority of my Facebook friends could be sorted into four distinct eras: people I knew from high school, people I knew from my two years at De Anza College or are linked with them, people I know from my first three or four years at Red Robin, and the people I've basically met or reconnected with since I turned twenty-seven last year. The latter two have mostly experienced minimal change (in fact, most of the people on my Facebook I've met in the last couple of years were added as friends only over the last couple of -weeks-), but even they have gone through something notable or are in the middle of doing so. The former two ... even though I know that change over that long a space of time is obvious, which is partially why there's such a thing as a ten-year class reunion, some of the changes still surprise and startle me.

A lot of the people I've seen from high school haven't aged very well, at least not in my opinion. People who used to make fun of me for being fat have become fat themselves, and not in a way that looks healthy. A couple of people who seemed like bright stars back then seem to be plagued with issues now, issues which are driving them down. Admittedly, I see a bit of myself in them, since I let my issues drive me down constantly for years and it was only recently that I may have learned to cut it out some. In some ways, it is as if time has not passed for them, or they chose not to acknowledge it, and they're upset that time if forcibly catching up to them. They haven't realized that you can't do anything about time. It makes me think of one friend I used to talk about here in the journal often, who was a pretty cool guy when I knew him but went downhill eventually, and never really broke the cycle. While he's cleaned up well (in more ways than one), a couple of formerly mutual friends admitted not long ago that even though they kinda thought I was a loser, watching what he did and how he treated them eventually made them realize that they, and he, had overlooked my good points. They commended me for basically turning myself around and being a responsible adult, something he has steadfastly refused to do and something that had become more important to them once they had left school and had to make their own way.

Of course, not everybody is afflicted with this. One guy who was more or less my best friend in school is in the Air Force, something I'm proud of him for doing, but he's been going through a rough time not unlike my own. A couple other guys I know from then who were jerks most of the time seem to have mellowed out a lot and are pretty cool, though honesty compels me to admit that there's the possibility that my own immaturity from back them had something to do with my perception of them as jerks. Quite a few that I remembered from around the beginning of my time with Red Robin have finished school and moved on to fulfilling careers.

Where do I define myself? Somewhat in the middle. There is some credence to the opinion that I wasted a good chunk of my life and as a result I'm still living at home and waiting tables at 28 while a lot of other friends have moved on to careers, gotten married, and started families. But I'm not entirely dependent on my family's generosity, and I'm not going out and getting drunk and causing trouble on a regular basis. My life is relatively drama-free. My job might be a dead end but I'm confident that at the right time and with the right opportunity I could take the skills I gained from it into a new field, which I'm attempting with my foray into marketing and telecommunications.

Do I wish I could have done better? Of course I do, but considering the alternatives, which could have easily gone the other way and led me down a dangerous road of substance abuse, serious mental disorders, institutionalization, or even death, I'm certainly not going to complain too much about where I am.

Would I have gone back and changed things to give myself advice so that perhaps I could have achieved more success now? Definitely not. It was because of all the pain, loss, and failure of my past, whether legitimate or cooked up in my mind, that I could recognize where I am right now as a good thing. As I am fond of telling people, if I hadn't been picked so much at school, I probably would have grown up to be a complete asshole.

If I wasn't suffering six years ago, I wouldn't be appreciating rising above things today.

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jkmoreno

May 2012

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