We start as little crusaders out to make the world better. That might take the form of an art like painting or poetry. Some serve in churches, YMCAs and hospitals. Others seek change in socially progressive jobs like an attorney for the poor or a city planner in my case.
Then we grow up. Problems that seem so easy to solve in our naïve minds are complicated and involve more than a few people. Then we find that most people fiercely resist losing what they’ve got, be in money, power, or religion. Then add bureaucracies that by their nature are designed to protect themselves, and we soon see why change personal and social doesn’t come easily.
Did any of my early hopes come to fruition? I never wrote them down, but I realized when I asked that I was the only person the answer mattered to. And before I could answer that, I had to ask which world was I talking about? At base, for me, my personal world was what I was talking about.
I’m sure as a kid I hoped for a just world, but in the end what matters is what happened to me. And I’ve become the man I never hoped for because I didn’t think it was possible. Today like a Hollywood character I write every day and have an active sex live and shared love with a remarkable man for eighteen years. I help friends and my son, but I don’t answer to anyone.
As I look back I should have said my hope was to become someone capable of loving and being loved. I did and think my father would be proud.