I used to go out in it a lot more, letting it soak my clothes and my hair and run cold over my back and arms. I liked the way it made the air smell, and the way that it felt when I hit my face. I didn't care for the fact that it made my hair greasy or my face feel like it needed a wash, but that was all right. Worth it for the smells and the coolness and the feel that I'd pulled off a couple of layers of insulation.
Now..I don't go out as much in it, just to be going out. Maybe it was one of those things about being a teenager, you have to be unique. You have to figure things out by yourself, even if someone's figured them out for you. I felt that if I was going to be a writer I had to *suffer* or something.
I didn't write much, really.
I wrote a lot of what my friend Suzanne calls 'crimson death poetry'. I wrote long, complicated rants about how life was intrinsically unfair and brutal and uncaring. Which isn't to say it isn't. It is. But I bled when I'd never been wounded.
I did some good things then..discovered Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. I wanted to save the world. I wanted to make a difference.
Now..I don't know. Maybe you can make a difference in a much smaller way. Maybe you can change the world just by being completely yourself. But it's so subtle, and so delicate that you can't see it yourself. Maybe by scrubbing the rust away, you reveal a lot more than surfaces.
Is that what being grown up and middle aged means? Knowing that you don't know any more? Hoping that what you do means something, that it's enough?
It doesn't seem very much like wisdom.