After climbing into a dark place for my first entry, I thought it only sufficient to counter balance that with a more pleasant affair. It’s always easy to remember the truly sad times, but much too often we forget the happier moments. Those are the ones we should truly cherish. Show your scars with pride, but never forget all the good things and people that brought you to where you are today. That shaped and molded you into this extremely complex entity, with your own heart and soul, your own ups and downs. Life is extraordinary, and human life is simply amazing. Ah, but I digress, this is a topic for another entry. On to some of the more joyous moments of young Brian’s life. I’ll break this down into 3 groups; the formative years, my pre-teen, and my teenage years.
The Formative Years:
Childhood memories seem to slowly fade in time, but certain things you can never forget. I’ll never forget the first time I rode a bike without training wheels, probably my first moment of self admiration. From that day on I rode my bike every where, and I was somewhat blessed to live in a neighborhood with many other children near my age. There must have been 10 of us waiting at the bus stop every morning. Making friends has never been hard for me, I don’t know if I would consider myself a charming person but I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone that I felt truly did not like me. So needless to say, I had many friends in the neighborhood. I spent so much of my youth playing in the yard, riding my bike down the road, jumping on trampolines, and swimming in pools. This is something I am very grateful for, I spent 50% of my childhood outdoors, playing and exploring. Two things I still love greatly to this day. I think it’s a shame that so many younger people sit in front of their computers or their iPads for hours every night. The world is meant to be explored, it’s practically one huge playground. So get out there and play.
I also met many of the friends I still keep to this day in my formative years. Which is both marvelous, and maybe a bit distressing at the same time. In a small town, most friends are made out of convenience. But that doesn’t change the fact that they are your friends, they have been there for you for many years, and the love you feel for them is real. I wouldn’t really change much at all about my childhood, at least nothing that I had control of. I played my heart out, and dreamt until my mind was exhausted. If I ever have children of my own(I certainly hope so, but I’m off to a late start,) I will make sure they experience some of the great things I did as a child, and so much more. I will do everything in my power to make sure they get as much, or more out of life than I have.
Now here is where things start getting interesting. Once I entered into the 6th grade, my group of friends essentially changed, it wasn’t just children from around the neighborhood anymore. I was put in a class with gifted children who were very advanced and mature for their age, and this was a huge learning period for me. I learned that playing wasn’t everything, there were all these various art forms out there waiting for me to discover; music, painting, books, and movies amongst others. My eyes were opened to a larger part of the world, one that expanded far beyond the small town I lived in. Some of my friends from this era were from wealthy families, who had money to travel the world and see all these other, great places, and in turn they would tell me about them. I still spent much of my time outdoors, but it was usually doing athletic activities, basketball, baseball, football. I am certainly no athlete, but the simple love of being out and staying active kept me playing anyways. I also obtained my love of music from these friends, a love that still persists strongly to this day.
One particularly life altering experience for me was my school’s 6th grade camping trip. We spent a week at a national forest preserve, sleeping in cots and eating by the campfire. This is probably one of the fondest memories I have. My new friends were all so interesting and being outdoors just suits me so well, the minimalist nature of it all. I also started to show a faint interest in the opposite sex for the first time, if only the faintest. There was just something about this trip that was so magical, and to this day I will hear a song that reminds me of my trip there and I will both laugh and cry.
Speaking of the opposite sex, this was also the first time I kissed a girl. A pretty little girl from the neighborhood I lived in. She had a crush on me, but I was so young and naive, as well as probably sexually scarred from past events, I was too foolish to see it. But it smacked me right in the face when she planted a small kiss on my lips while sitting on her trampoline, I couldn’t have been but maybe 12 years old. We started a light hearted boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, in which I really had no desire to be in(a common theme throughout my life.) But her and I actually remained good friends for many years to follow, and ironically she showed up as a new employee at my former job and we were still great friends, even 15 years after the fact.
The Teenage Years:
Oh man, where to even begin. I think everyone reminisces about their teenage years to a point of exhaustion, and I’m no exception to this. So many great memories, so much fun was had. How much of that fun was “productive?” Hardly any of it to be honest, but teenage fun rarely is. The cars, the alcohol, the parties, the girls. It was a pretty wild ride for me, I saw so many things that I will never forget during this time. I will try to recall a couple of memorable moments, but needless to say, I had fun. It may have came at the expense of my schooling and education though, but again, that’s a story for another day.
In a small town, your activities are kind of limited. In my time, teenagers would mostly just…Drive around. Sounds boring I know, but honestly it wasn’t so bad. It was very personal, and gave you the opportunity to really get to know someone. Usually, kids would meet up at certain designated spots to hang out in their vehicles with the windows down and chat with others, but more often than not we would get bored of that and just cruise the country side. As I got a little older, around 17 or 18, the parties started happening. And boy did we party. If there wasn’t one happening on any given weekend, we would make it happen. We partied in parking lots, abandoned houses, churches, anywhere we could get loud and drink. This went on for years, and I saw some crazy stuff in that time. Fights, drugs, suicide attempts, rape…Yeah, some things I would like to forget. But despite some of the lows, I still enjoyed this time greatly.
And how could I forget my first love? See, I’ve always been pretty well impervious to the opposite sex, due to past trauma most likely. But sometimes love finds you whether you want it to or not. I started a fairly serious relationship with a girl that lasted maybe a little over a year, a short time in the grand scheme of things, but an eternity when you are that age. We had our ups and downs as any couple does, but boy was I head over heels for her. I couldn’t even tell you why really, we were so unlike each other. She was a bit of a “goody two shoes,” while I was pretty rough around the edges. She was very into academics, I could not have cared less. Sometimes opposites attract I suppose. But alas, in the end it turned out to just be puppy love, as are most relationships at that age. My heart was shattered due to many unfortunate circumstances and betrayals involved. But you live and you learn, and despite all the heart ache, I’m so very thankful for her time and her love, and I would not change anything.
So these are a few of the more happy moments that helped shape me into what I am today. They may not mean much to most people, but they mean everything to me. Good friends, good laughs, good times. Back when the only thing that mattered was being alive, and having fun. Youthful bliss, aloof to all the problems of the world. Why can’t we stay young? Why can’t we live forever?
Maybe I just wanna fly
I wanna live, I don’t wanna die
Maybe I just wanna breathe
Maybe I just don’t believe
Maybe you’re the same as me
We see things they’ll never see
You and I, we’re gonna live forever