There’s a talk I can’t wait to have with my children when they’re out on their own. It’ll be about how it feels as a kid to only ever get younger, and never grow older.
Those of you who are of my generation know this feeling. You hit about 25 before you start to realize you’re no longer getting young. Geting younger is that feeling of always growing up, always getting better, feeling stronger, feeling infinite. Because for the first 25 years of your life that’s exactly what was happening. You were growing, physically, and you could feel your strength increasing, see your talents developing. For 25 years (or more) you feel like you’re ONLY getting better.
But then one day you wake up and your back hurts. Or you hurt yourself and you don’t bounce back in a day like you used to. Or you get sick and you really need to lay down for a week before you strength is back. This is when we realize we’ve finally stopped getting younger and started getting older.
And with that comes thoughts of our legacy. Who we used to be, who we are. Who will we become. Suddenly we realize that getting older means eventually leaving this place and we concern ourselves with leaving our mark. No more looking at tomorrow as an infinite promise, something that youth uniquely allows us to envision. When you’re a mature adult you realize that truth of the words “tomorrow isn’t promised”. You see for yourself that your physical strength isn’t increasing, that you’ve peaked and all you’re doing now is maintaining as best you can. Your experience makes the world feel like groundhog day, the same thing over and over, never changing. You don’t see new things as much as you used to. Everything looks like a copy of a copy. You start to wonder what the hell is going on and where did the World of Ever New Horizons disappear to.
But I found a fountain of youth years ago. People.
People are a bottomless pool of optimism. They show you that things go on, even infinitely. They make you stronger, give you energy, and give you the will to go on. This is especially true of loved ones and even more so of your children. To this day I remember two very distinct mes: the person I was before I met my wife and the person I am now. The former has been consumed by the latter and that gives me new life, more youth, a means to see everyday as new. Just as I did in my youth.
My children make it easier to envision what growing older will look like. I see myself in them, all of them. I remember me at their age. Some memories are painful and inspire passion to be an even better father, and some are light and I can vicariously enjoy their new experiences of the world without worry.
Relatively speaking, I’m still very young but mentally I’m no longer the youthful me. Yet I don’t feel older either. I’d say I’m floating fluidly in that space in between and all of my days ahead are still shimmering with the excitement of my youth, but with more familiarity and knowing. I’m looking forward to seeing the hairs on my head turn white. My wife is too.
Getting older is weird, but oddly comforting.
Scree Tags: #blaugust #gamertalk