Growing Up

This past week we finalized our plans to visit Crete, the largest of Greece’s islands, after our 12 days on the mainland. We watched videos made by other travelers in order to determine which sites and cities we might visit (and avoid) and checked out maps to figure out how many possible destinations might align with our energy level over five nights and four days.

We settled on flying from Athens to Chania (pronounced “Hania”) because it’s on the western side of the island where there are lots of small towns and cities and, more importantly to us, lots of lovely places to hike or be near the crystal blue water. Beth and I like a good town, but our souls feed on nature.

Over the course of a few years, I have slowly, sometimes painfully, learned how to apply myself to preparation and collaboration. This has made for some better experiences, less anxiety and more trust in my fellow travelers or other “experts.”

In the past, I tried to do the least amount of preparation possible and consistently avoided asking for help. This led to a life full of hit or miss experiences with some wonderful hits and some spectacular misses. I probably would have continued on this way but for Beth who encouraged me to pay attention to things like finances, emotions, addictive behaviors and building trust in a relationship. Y’know – the little things!

Now, I can tell the difference between my old gunslinger ways and today’s more studied, partner-proof way of making decisions. Here’s an example of each:

For my birthday, I purchased a musical extravagance, a $250 gizmo that allows guitarists to record loops while simultaneously playing drumbeats. I’ve owned loopers before and they can be quite fun and useful, especially if one takes the time to learn them and one is playing live concerts. In my case, I am doing neither. The looper has sat on my desk since its purchase four weeks ago.

This purchase is an example of Old Scott, the adolescent who believed that more musical equipment would make him a better musician and a cooler fellow who would unlock new doors of creative expression. In truth this sometimes works (hits) but as often as not, it misses. More than likely, I will end up selling the gizmo and take a slight loss. Sigh.

On the other end of the spectrum, I recently booked us some places to stay for work coming up in Brooklyn and Manhattan during May. This was handled by Scott 2.0 who knows how to prepare, research, check in with his partner and be financially prudent. Importantly, every move I made was/is cancelable. It’s good, smart work with the added benefit of our being able to pull out if we find a better solution.

Last point: I can be trusted by my partners and loved ones when I’m acting soberly. I chose that word (sober) on purpose because my adolescent self is, in part, motivated by fuzzy-thinking and excitement rather than the clear, sober ways of my wiser, older self. I can still fall into the trap of my teenager’s enthusiasm without good-thinking, but it’s less frequent…by a mile.

In this moment, too, I forgive myself for buying the looper, for trying to use a “thing” as a shortcut to creativity or joy instead of sitting down to write a blog post or a song or planning what to do in Crete. It’s called “growing up” and it never stops.

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