I am only forward and assertive when that other persona who come out when I’m on stage occupy my body and mind. Sometimes I wish I had more of that persona in me than I do, and sometimes I realise that this strange persona is in me, but I don’t have the key to unlock him in my normal life.

My preferred way of dealing with people is to sit in a small group where I can let someone else talk. If I have something to add, I will, but otherwise I feel comfortable just sitting there on the edge of the group. Other people can lead that dance, not me. I’ll sit there with my tea, or soft drink, and watch what’s going on.

Today we were down in the town centre, and Mark met up with some people from his old school, and while they caught up with what had happened in their lives up to that point, I fell into this rule of silence and observation, interrupted only by words when I was asked (or told) to do or say something.

It struck me how compartmentalized my mind can be. If I’d had a guitar with me, I would have had no issue with starting up a song then and there. That other persona could have taken over for a couple of minutes, that assertive and charming and wild persona. The swag-Colin. But I didn’t have my guitar with me, and so book-Colin sat there, sipping tea, listening and observing.

I didn’t even go after the person who is most important in my life. It was more his doing, his cajoling, his refusal to stop talking to me. I wonder what would have happened if he had been as reserved as I am. What missed life we could have had; totally unaware of it. Sometimes thinking about that weird guy we once met who refused to say anything without being prompted.

That makes me wonder, what other opportunities and chances have I lost over the years when I am like this? What if I had dared to come out in Sweden? What if I had made a better impression when I went to that interview to Cambridge? What if…? What if…?

But then again, that’s book-Colin thinking that. I’m not sure that swag-Colin would. I think swag-Colin would be much more unaware; content as he is in the moment when everyone is watching him perform, and feeling that deep contentment that this always brings. Once swag-Colin was sated, would the real me, the me who write this, even have valued what I have here?

The future is so opaque, so vague, so undefined. They say that the age between eighteen and twenty-eight is the important age; that’s when you propel yourself into your life, and choose the arc you follow until you’re old. But I have no idea what that arc is, or where it is, or how to get there. I think swag-Colin would know his arc.

I make no sense, do I?