Friday, November 14, 2014

Have the passions of your youth been tranquilized and tamed?

Hi Elvis,

"This is Hell" came on my shuffle today and I remembered this line getting to me when I was younger: "All the passions of your youth are tranquilized and tamed..." I swore it would never happen to me. I would be full of passion and conviction my whole life!

But did it happen anyway, when I wasn't looking?

There was a time I read two or three novels a week. I spent my Saturday nights arguing about them over pitchers of beer with writer friends. I had strongly held opinions about everything, and I agonized over my own work, certain that if I squeezed my sentences hard enough, something profound would drop out. 

Now I have opinions about Power Point presentations. The last book I read was Amy Poehler's autobiography, on a plane, and I'm pretty sure it sucked? If I'm squeezing anything, it's my daughter's cloth diapers, and what drops out is water, tinged with urine.

But if the passions of my youth have been tamed, the passions of my adulthood are roaring. We don't call these things passions -- we use quieter words like love, responsibility, pride -- but are they really so different? I think I'm experiencing them similarly. They still fill me completely up. Look at her face, Elvis!

Have the passions of your youth been tranquilized and tamed? You were older than I am now when you wrote that line, but you hadn't yet had your twins. Have they changed the way you think about how our passions evolve? 

(I do miss those passions of my teens and twenties, though. I hope they come back one day).