Monday, July 6, 2009

Cliches from the Coach

I grew up with a Coach for a dad. Now there are a lot of positives and a lot of negatives to that. Personally, I wouldn't trade the experience I had for the world. But one thing that has always bothered me is that my dad speaks in cliches. Constantly. To those who get to speak with him from time to time, they find it endearing or quirky. Seriously, any one who has ever met or known my Dad has loved him and I know I am lucky to be his daughter. But for me, who has sought advice or insights from him since I was a little kid, this quality irks the hell out of me sometimes. When I am having a tough time of things at work, it isn't very encouraging or inspiring for him to tell me "They don't call it work for nothin'!" I probably have a number of scars and bumps and cracks that were a result of shunning medical attention over the years and being told to "walk it off." But having heard them time and time and TIME again over the years, I know that cliches are used over and over again for a reason -- they're usually true.

You can't go home again. I find myself coming back to that one a lot lately. I think I started to understand what that meant for the first time when I went back home from college for the first time. "Home" wasn't my parents' house anymore. It was Route 1, my dorm room, and my friends at school. And some years after that, I felt that same way again going back to my college and experiencing the places and the sights and the people as an alum. Everything was the same but still....different. Because I was different. I think that everyone goes through a series of these experiences over the course of their lives, married or single, gay or straight, rich or poor. After all, isn't that what makes it a cliche?

There are ways I have physically gone back, to try and get some glimpse, some brief taste of experiences from my past. I don't know if I have done that to feel younger, or better, or safer, or what. And it is good -- for a little while it feels really nice. Just kind of warm and reassuring -- like some favorite, beat-up, old sweatshirt. I feel like a me that is younger and hasn't yet experienced hurt, or broke, or failure, or scared, or sick or one of the many other tough emotions I have personally felt in the process of growing up. For that brief little while it's kind of intoxicating. But in the end, I am left wondering, is it worth it? To just forget about or ignore who I am now to try and relive for a little while who I was then. If I am being honest, no, it probably isn't. I think if I can step away and look at it clearly I'd be able to see that it's a little self indulgent and probably pretty immature of me. The cons likely outnumber the pros.

But I have also been looking back a lot recently. Places I have been and people I have known, jobs I have had and things I have done. I have spent some time recently with people that have very much been a part of my past. But I can't say they are a part of my present. Personally, I have struggled with that one for a long time. I invested a lot of myself in friendships from college and many of those didn't pan out. Someone told me when I graduated that I'd find out quickly who my true friends were after graduation. While the process wasn't immediate, it did prove to be true over a bit of time. I hate that I grew apart from people who meant a lot to me and wish I could have meant something more to them. I know that I tried, and sometimes I wonder if it was valiant to have made the effort or if it was a total waste of time/energy/emotion. I can't answer that question, really. I am scared I might pick option B...and be right.

You can't go home again. And that's fine. Maybe the upshot in all of this looking back is when you eventually turn around and look forward, you can see how far you actually have come. Ugh, that sounds like a long winded fortune cookie message doesn't it? Damn it...maybe speaking in cliches is genetic. Thanks, Dad.

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