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peak:

Jonathan, Nate and I watched "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and hit practice golf balls in a field near Jonathan's place.


valley:

Today was a good day. Not necessarily eventful, but good. It's hard to find a valley in a good day... I don't think I can do it.


noise:

"Three Times A Lady"
The Commodores.


sustenance:

Ham LunchAble.


thoughts:

I have too much to do tomorrow. I should be asleep instead of writing... but I need to run with it when the mood hits.


365:

Evidentally, I wasn't in the writing mood a year ago today.


Sunday, september 9th

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Quote Du Jour:
"Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better."
(Sydney J. Harris)

I've spoken once or twice about my two youngest cousins who I adore like nothing else on Earth. I have four cousins total (all girls) ages 23, 18, 6 and 3. However, I haven't laid eyes on the two eldest cousins in many years. On the other hand, the little ones are still active in my life. As I said once in a previous entry... I didn't really know that I liked kids until I met these two.

A few weeks ago, the six-year-old started first grade. Now sure, the big landmark in one's young life is usually kindergarten... but her being in first grade has made a much bigger impact on me than her going to school for the first time did. Why? I remember first grade -- well.

Central Elementary School and Mrs. Baker. My friend Todd getting held back a year. Getting honorable mention in the education week poster contest and them giving little snack-sized candy bars as prizes. Blistering my hands on the monkey bars. Trying to convince a substitute that my name was Scott instead of Fletch... and succeeding. Wearing holes in the knees of my jeans and my mom sewing patches on them... and that being okay because it was stylish at the time. I remember piano lessons and the new fangled video camera my parents bought to record my first recital. There was pee-wee baseball and right-handed Fletch trying to bat left handed (we were league champs no thanks to me). My sister got glasses that year and I called her "four eyes". (God punished me for it with glasses two years later.) I carried my lunch in a metal lunchbox. And regardless of what I've done in the last 17 years, I'm still that little boy today.

As a kid, I usually tried to do things that would put me ahead of my peers in the maturity category. I've spent my entire life trying to be all grown up. And now, at 23 years old and seeing my young cousin at a stage of life that I vividly remember... I realize that in many ways, I'm there. And it's got me to thinking.

I've worked in newspapers for more than seven years. It stopped being a job and became a profession a while ago. At the same time, I'm working on making firefighting my profession of choice... a profession with little room for error... a profession where people turn to you when they've got problems they can't solve... a real-live grown up job. But sometimes it seems that only the world sees me as 23-year-old Fletch. Regardless of how mature I act or the responsibilities I try to take on, in my mind I'm still the seven-year-old with worn out jeans on the monkey bars.

In December, I'll be 24. While 24 is not "old" by any stretch of the imagination (I'm hoping that I'll have at least 50 more after that), it is a bench mark of sorts for me. To me, 24 seems like a defining age for some reason and I don't feel as though I've met all of the requirements to join the club. I don't feel like I've done enough in my life.

I always had the vision of me growing up and moving off somewhere to do big and important grown-up stuff. Now, I find that my immediate plans for life include returning to and working in my hometown. That gives me the feeling that I have unfulfilled potential. At 23, I guess that's okay. I do, afterall, still have time to make things happen. However, I realize that it doesn't take much for unfulfilled potential at 23 to become life's regrets at age 40... I don't want any part of that and, more importantly, the family I'll have then doesn't deserve any part of that.

I guess it all boils down to me sitting here for 23 years waiting to grow up... and me not seeing it as it happened. I'm here now and it's time I get busy.

copyright © 2001, Thomas Fletcher. all rights reserved.