On the outside, but not always looking in . . .

by johnwilliamlindsay

I admit to not being who I was twenty five years ago – I’m just not.  I haven’t reinvented myself. Just maybe, I have, in my older years, figured out who the heck I am, and gone with it!  My late brother Tom left home at 18 – when I was born.  When I left the crib in Mother and Dad’s room, it was time for him to go.  There were still three others at home, and apparently, he was, as they say in baseball, out of options.  Tom was one of my guardian angels, though – growing up in that house was tough – I was the youngest, born late in life into a marriage that wasn’t exactly made in heaven.  Even after he and Joanne married, he was there on birthdays, to bring me something, take me fishing, or just take me for a ride.  Long into adulthood, in one of our more serious conversations, (Tom was possessed of that goofy Lindsay sense of humor) I asked him what I had been like as a little kid.

His answer surprised me; he said I was a shy, sensitive little boy who wanted other people to be happy.  That was it.  In those few words, he helped me to start to understand myself.  So, instead of “reinventing” myself, I have spent the last twenty five years revealing myself to myself.  Adapting to my shortcomings and starting to exploit my real talents, such as they are.  Another thing that I have done is to keep a list of those people I could have done better by:  First and foremost my wife and kids, nieces and nephews, old friends, loyal business acquaintances – no reason, really, just a reminder that, well, sometimes that shyness, sensitivity and outright fear of life sometimes got the better of me.  Sometimes it caused me to quit on myself.  I have apologized to myself profusely for that.  I quit less now.  I don’t struggle as much.  Still work hard, but I don’t know any other way.   At the end of the day, though, I’ve always been an outsider – but I also realize it has been by my choice in most of the cases, and I’ll say this about being on the outside looking in – the view is sometimes pretty good.