The young fella in the photo would be me, circa 2011, serving wine in a small enoteca in Italy.
I came across this image the other day when I was scrolling my Photos app on my phone, and I immediately started reminiscing.
That is, remembering with a touch of pleasantness and nostalgia; rejoicing in that deep pool of  recollections that is your memory.

Every end of the year it’s the same: a part of me wants to “make counts”, evaluate, and analyze such year. Almost like making an excel sheet out of the whole thing. One that weighs out the pros and cons, the goods and the bads, progresses and setbacks.  
The other part thinks this is all a cliché: there is no such thing as “the end”: we just like to define the undefinable, we wish to “time the time”.
We categorize, split and divide the inexorable passage of time in seconds, months, years, seasons. We have the illusion that we can control it better that way. But nothing is ever finished, rather it is all transforming, continuing its course. 

I haven’t made my mind yet to which part of me is right. Perhaps, they both are.
The fact is: I do it anyway, and I end up evaluating my year. I can’t help it. But my thoughts don’t stop with the year in question, I begin going further back down memory lane and reminiscing.
Maybe memories are like brownies: you can’t just stop at one. 

Recently I read a book - I can’t remember which one - where the author encourages a conversation with your younger self.
What would my younger self would say about me today? Would he be proud, or disappointed?  
Am I living the life I said I would when I was the age I was in the picture? (26 FYI). 
Would I change the course of something in my life as of today? Am I playing big enough? Other than myself, have I made the people I care about in my life proud?

The answer to all these questions is neither short nor an easy one, and i think the questions are as important as the answers.
One thing is suddenly clear to me: I am so proud of that guy in the picture. I see how scared and naive and pure he was. I see his hopes and dreams, the attempts he will make at realizing them; ultimately his failures and successes. I see the obstacles and challenges he will have to face.
It is almost like watching a younger brother for whom I feel nothing other than compassion and love. I wish him courage for what he will encounter in his own path. I empathize with the struggles he will face. I rejoice with him for the victories he will conquer, for the mistakes he will learn from.
I wish him well. I wish him the best. 

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