Searching for Ten-Year-Old Me

I recently finished John Grisham’s first book, A Time to Kill. Near the end of the novel a certain part of the story stuck with me.

photo credit: Michael Bentley via creative commons

photo credit: Michael Bentley via creative commons

As the protagonist, Jake Brigance, was stressed out about an upcoming trial he went to his childhood home. His parents were gone so he was by himself walking around the house. Grisham detailed all the aspects of the house and the yard which had an impact on him. As Brigance looked around he thought about playing football in the yard and riding his bike. It took me back and I started visualizing the home I grew up in.

I remember the large pine tree in the front yard and I remember playing football out front. I remember the stairs where my sister fell and cut her forehead. I rode my dirt bike all over every square inch of it and also hit golf balls from every area. Like all crystal clear memories they are sometimes relevant and often times completely insignificant.

There is something special about the home you grew up in. Thinking about it takes you back to a time and place where your imagination was everything. You didn’t spend time thinking about what you could or couldn’t do you did. I miss that. I miss the unknown. There is something about growing up which makes you feel like you have seen and experienced everything. I haven’t. Nobody has but the more you live the more tempting it is to stop living. I’m tired of that feeling. Tired of not getting where I want to go and doing what I want to do.

Cynicism leads to nowhere. I don’t think about anything in those years growing up except for all of the things I did. I have stopped doing things. I occasionally go to a trendy restaurant or do something social but it’s not the same. I don’t try different things. I don’t live life the way it was meant to be lived. I live it the safe way. I don’t chase after things I desire. I wait for them to come to me. They never come. No matter how long I wait it doesn’t come. It would be perfect if we could have the imagination of a child combined with the ability of an adult. Few can reach it.

In May when Morgan and I were in Jamaica we took a sketchy ride to a non-government sanctioned waterfall. Our “tour guide” was probably stoned and we jumped off waterfalls and cliffs. We crawled through caves and swam in naturally cool springs. I will never forget doing those things. It wasn’t safe. It was uncharacteristic for both of us. It was fun. It reminded me I’m not too old to make memories. It’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to do something completely out of character. Remind yourself of the fearless behavior you had when growing up. It’s still you. Do things which scare you to death. It’s the only way to live.