If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you might remember me writing about my dream to be on the radio. It was a dream I had since I was about eight years old when my mom and dad gave me a wireless microphone with an antennae that retracted from the bottom that somehow connected to the FM stereo, allowing my squeaky voice to overtake the airwaves like a real-life DJ.
In high school, I’d ride my bike down to the local radio station and apply for an on-air position, then I’d head home, first stopping off at the 7-ELEVEN for a Slurpee and a pack of Now & Laters. (Ha!)
I don’t think it surprised anyone that a few years later–after a lot of hard work and a lot of experience–I finally got on the radio on the now-defunct SHE 100.3 in Orlando, where I spun music from the likes of Matchbox Twenty, the Goo Goo Dolls, and Barenaked Ladies (who, as you might think, aren’t naked and aren’t ladies). It’s hard to believe that was seventeen years ago now.
Which is why I was surprised when I was tucking my boys into bed and I got an alert on my phone from Facebook, telling me that one of my friends who I haven’t spoken with in a very long time had tagged me in a video with Facebook asking if I wanted to share it with my friends. The caption read, ‘Found a bunch of old air checks from the radio station I used to work at. Here’s Ken Fite.’
I smiled, and got my boys’ attention as I hit play so they could hear what their daddy sounded like on the radio and a flood of memories rushed over me from a different time and place. But something unexpected happened as I listened to that old air check of a seventeen-year younger version of myself with my boys next to me, overflowing with excitement to hear their dad as a DJ.
I was crass. I was rude. I made fun of a caller that I put on the air. I played the song she wanted, but only after pointing out that she called every night asking me to play the same stupid song.
“Play it again!” my boys said, not believing they were actually hearing their dad on the radio.
“I can’t,” I lied and told them to close their eyes and go to sleep as I stayed on the bed next to them in the dark, eyes wide open, disappointed with myself and wondering what had just happened.
It was my voice. It was way of speaking. It was my quirky sense of humor. It was definitely me.
And yet, it wasn’t me. Not the me that I am today, at least.
As I stayed there, silent, still thinking, I finally realized what had happened: I had changed.
Little by little, day by day, year after year, I slowly morphed into a kinder, better version of myself. And to be honest, I didn’t really consider myself to be those things now until I heard that old tape.
It made me think about my life as it is today. Every time I mess up, every time I say the wrong thing, react in a way I wish I hadn’t, and I wonder to myself, When am I ever going to change?
But the truth is that I am changing. I am becoming better. Little by little. Day by day. Year by year.
You are, too.
I may not yet be who I need to be, but thank God I’m not who I used to be.