Growing up and Passage of Time

It has been quite a while since I really sat and wrote down a personal post.  I used to do this quite a lot back in 2003 – 2006 but then I realized people were reading this stuff.  That is the problem with writing from the heart when you have a readership, you tend to censor yourself.

Then came along Facebook and it seemed your entire world became connected online and that things you wrote were completely exposed to everyone, not just the anonymous internet.  Well, the good thing for me, is I’ve been “unplugged” from all of that for about a decade and therefore really have no fear about writing what I wish.  Most of it was political things that I learned while being abroad but in the past few months I learned how to spin it off into a separate blog with the help of my expatriate friends.  There is always protection in a group!  🙂

Well, enough of those thoughts, I just wanted to write post like the days of yore and I’m not really concerned about who will read it or not.

Today being Friday, I sad down, cracked open a bottle of Spaten beer “Oktoberfest,” and turned on the T.V.  Have had a lot going on in my life at the moment and just wanted to take a minute, vegetate in front of the tube and relax.

The TV show that came on was “Friends.”  Now this TV show has been with me throughout my entire adult life.  It was on while I was in High School, College, Japan, Vietnam and in San Francisco.

When I watch it I wonder to myself if my life would have been like that had I stayed in the USA.  To rent an apartment, share it with friends and then have a bunch of life experiences with those same friends.  Quite a few of my friends come to mind when I think of people I would have liked to share an apartment with and the fun we would have had.  But I chose a different path and thus had completely different experiences.

The episodes affect me now as I have recently purchased a house and am no longer living in an apartment, in the middle of a big city (Tokyo, Saigon, SF) but have “retired” to the backwaters.  Actually, I was unable to cut the ties completely and am still 20 minutes from San Francisco but cannot help the feeling that a big chapter of my life has closed.

The funny thing is that the characters in Friends moved on a long time ago and it was about time I did the same.  Yet, we still get the reruns which bring the storyline back to the mid-1990s.  It makes me wonder how fast time moves on and how much things change.  You start to reflect if you made the right moves, did the right things and if you are “successful” enough.

In this culture we live in it would seem that one cannot ever be “successful” enough and even if you were to reach that point then you would be midlife before you did.  Then, upon reaching that point you look back upon your life and wonder if you made the right decisions on the way to “success.”

I for one, always have my “midlife crisis” a bit early.  I knew at 19 that I would not be a famous professional sports player and now at 33 I have the same thoughts most people might have at 40.  Still feeling good about things but that pressure to achieve seems to never go away.  It doesn’t help that economically we are in a very bad time and I wonder how many “superstars” there could have been but simply were not due to the recession.

So, I watch Friends and see the fun they have and wonder how my life would have turned out should I have chosen another path.  With Facebook it is very easy to see what others have done and you start to ask yourself “What is the meaning of success?”  You see what they do and wonder if you will ever reach a point where you are simply “comfortable.”  In the culture we live in, it seems that one can never be successful enough.  Perhaps it is just the times we live in and watching Friends, it would seem that the same problems they had in the mid 1990s’ continue to this day.

If you have never seen Friends, let me just show you the beginning and listen to the words.

So no one told you life was going to be this way. 
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, you’re love life’s DOA. 
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear, 
Well, it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.

Reading the Facebook updates, it would seem like some of my friend’s lives accurately reflect this description.  None of us would have thought that upon High School graduation.

As for me personally, I do not feel “stuck in second gear” but given the times we live in, I would think that I’m in 3rd gear with the chance to stall at any moment.  I still have confidence but the economy is different now and it seems like a “live or die” type of environment.

In High School we all thought that we would be kings of the world… and then we grew up.  We all still want to be happy but the weight of the world is giving us “challenges” as they say in business parlance.  Some find themselves in school, others with families, some fighting that corporate ladders.

Kind of interesting how an episode of “Friends” can bring all these thoughts to bare.

In any case, this is what is on my mind this evening.  Will try to write more in the blog, but as I mentioned, now that I see many people actually read the stuff I feel that I am self-censoring myself more.  It could be I wish to conform, or it could be I think job recruiters may actually read this stuff.  In any case, I shouldn’t worry about that and write this down for not only myself but for others who may be thinking the same way.  The most valuable type of post is what is written from the heart.

In case you haven’t, check out: for interesting perspectives and a bit of reality in these times of silly media.  I still spend most of my time there and I’m sure you will not be disappointed.

Signing off,

El Mateo

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! \(^.^)/

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