Last week, my best friend from the Navy contacted me after 40 yrs. He found me on Facebook, and sent a message with his phone number. I called and we decided to get together on Sunday at my home. To say I was surprised would be an understatement. We last saw each other in 1975 when I left the ship for another duty station, and he planned on getting out and moving back to Illinois.
It's one thing to grow old with someone you see on a regular basis. The changes are gradual, and never really sink in to your awareness. When you have a picture in your mind's eye of how a person looked forty years ago, and see them for the first time, all those subtle changes come crashing home. He is an old man! I am older than he, and the realization struck that this must be how others see me.
I'm sure some of you can relate, and have probably already made this discovery. For me, it is a hard pill to swallow. I have always thought of myself as young looking, and I don't think about things any differently than I did years ago. Now I have to wonder, should I grow up and start thinking differently?
I dug out a bunch of old Super 8 movies taken during our time in Vietnam, and on liberty in the Philippines and Hong Kong. The number of years that had passed became obvious as some of the film had deteriorated to the point you couldn't tell what was on them. While we watched the ones that were still good, it also became obvious how much the years had deteriorated the two of us.
While I will be forever thankful that we got the chance to reminisce about old times, and refresh each other's memory of names of old shipmates, some of whom are no longer with us, and the places we visited, the loss of our youth hit hard. I'm not sure if we will get together again anytime soon as I, for one, have a lot to think about. The fantasy of my life has reached a crossroads, and I don't have enough time left for anymore wrong turns.
Should I continue to pursue my writing, and try to put more energy, that I feel I no longer have, into it or just let it go? I just don't know anymore.
Thanks for listening.