Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Old Beyond Years

...Tears For Fears.
I told someone the other day that something I said was an inside joke with myself and they thought it was weird. Is that weird? I have LOTS of those.

Anyway, it feels like forever since I had the writing bug, and here it is! Probably very boring for most people but here are the thoughts of late:

I'm finding that life is a simple process of turning into one big cliche. When you're a kid, you don't sit back and wish for the good ol' days. When you're still a kid but old enough to know what people mean when they wish for the good ol' days, you swear you'll never be like that. At some point, major life milestones start happening, and no amount of proclaiming them weird or surreal changes the fact that you are indeed growing older, and you are in fact living all those scenarios you most surrealy imagined.

Point is, I feel old. Some great shift has taken place in the last year or so, and suddenly I'm remarking that summers feel shorter than they used to; good friends don't keep in touch like they used to; my body doesn't happily take a beating like it used to.

I'm 26.
26 isn't old, by logical standards. By 14-year-old mentality standards, however, it's ancient. And while I claim a certain amount that immaturity, I never anticipated that at age 26 I would pull a muscle doing routine things like, Or that I would gaze at a toddler and be overcome with amazement--and jealousy--at the amount of energy they possess.
I never dreamed I'd so unmistakably notice things changing.

I've watched my father, over the years, become more emotional, more appreciative, more drink-in-the-moments minded. Maybe it was his heart attack--Maybe it's the increase in grandchildren. Maybe it's just plain aging. Whatever it is, it seems that we soften as we go. Things mean more. I feel it more profoundly when I am hurt, or when someone I love is hurt. I have less tolerance for the violence and cruelty I see in the world around me. I wonder more often if I'm doing what I should and being someone who matters. I am so keenly aware of the moments that result in happy memories...and of those that will teach me something difficult.

If I feel like this at 26, I can't imagine 46, 66, and beyond. I'll probably spend all my time remarking about how strange it is that I'm 46, 66, and beyond. Or about those days when gas was $4.25 a gallon. Or about how weird it is that I used to never think I'd find it exhausting to sleep in a tent and hike and eat granola bars and get sunburned but now I do.
I want the wisdom of age and the vitality of youth. I guess that's what everybody wants, but that's not the plan. Maye I'll settle for the ability to do the splits. And stay up all night for fun. And work a minimum wage job with summers off.

Maybe you grow old and look back on your life and wonder if it all really happened. And a small part of you wonders if it was all really that short, that amazing, and that meaningful. In truth, it probably wasn't. But age lends meaning to everything.

So I guess I welcome the rose-colored lenses.