No, this is not going to be one of those ‘shake my fist in the air’ posts. Nor is it going to be one of those ‘kids today, mumble grumble’ type posts. This is about something completely different . . . well, not so very different: It’s about growing old, yet still being young.
We grow all the time (duh!), that’s kind of the point of living. You grow bigger, older, more frail, and then you die. All we are is dust in the wind, and so forth. During this time, everything changes, again and again and again. The world changes around you, and you change within it. We’re all shaped by what’s going on around us, as well as personal experience, friends and family. But even with all this happening – are we still stuck? When do we ‘shift’ from young to old? Is it just our age? Can you ever truly change within an already established framework?
Yes and no.
The reason I’m writing this is not because I’m getting old (a very popular theme among us approaching 30), I’m writing this because I’m still young according to many, and that kinda pisses me off. For me, age is just a number. You can be old and stupid and you can be young and smart, it doesn’t matter. Some wisdom is bound to come with age, but a whole lot of it can be gained anyway. Just because you’ve lived for a few decades more, doesn’t mean you’re smarter. The problem for me is that I feel like I’m in a room that keeps shrinking. On the one side, people are calling me young, jokingly envying my youth or stating that I ‘can’t possibly remember this or that’ or the very boring adage that ‘everything was better before.’ On the other side is time, coming at me with all it’s got: Creaky bones and slowed metabolism, fear and general anxiety. Meanwhile, I’m just standing here, dead center, waiting to be crushed.
So which one is it? Am I still young or am I growing old?
That’s what I want to know! But I guess it’s both. Depending on who you ask. Everyone suffers from age in one way or another. Not old enough to buy beer, not young enough to drink a hundred of them, and so forth. A lot of people own it while a lot of people hate their age, whatever it is. Me? I just want to be treated at least somewhat consistently. I suppose I’m basically at the ‘default’ point for a 30 year old man. I have a house, I have a car, and I have a wife who doesn’t quite hate me yet. I have a cat, a few exes, bills up my ass and I’m really starting to hate the fucking weather. Oh, and I wrote a book, which is rather nice. You should buy it! My problem is that this point sort of puts me in the same phase as many 40, 50 and even 60-year-olds, but the artificial age gap remains! I can’t even remotely relate to those in their early twenties anymore, but those who are 50 face roughly the same reality as me. So much happens between 10 and 30! Like, 80% of your life takes place there! School, puberty, college, army, hobbies, marriage, kids . . . the list goes on. I’ve been through almost all of that, just the same as you – so stop saying I’m still young! Stop disregarding me, stop joking around, stop saying things were fucking better before, because I know damn well they were! (Weren’t?) I’m not too young to remember phones with cords and VHS! I’m not young enough to have watched the same shows on TV as your damn kids. Do the damn math people!
So, you want to be old – and treated as such, is that it?
No! Yes! I don’t know! I get confused. I’ve never been this old before! I just want age to matter less than it does! I want people to stop using a damn number as an excuse to treat me this way or that. There’s a difference between age and phase, and when we all work at the same place, roughly going through the same stuff every day, shoveling the same motherfucking snow each winter – we are all the same age!
How old am I? Just as old as you!
Get off my lawn!
I had very similar feelings before I turned 30. Now I have been 30 for 5 years. 🙂 Half way into 40 I realize something: Age matters less. I just don’t care. If people say I am still young, I say thank you! Sometimes people get really stunned when I tell them I have 3 kids. I can see they really did not expect it. 😉
I also think about the fact that almost everything happened between 0 and 30 and then it kind of slows down… I thought… I just could not really see what big stuff was going to happen. Looking back on the last 5 years… crazy! Many things happened! But the strongest experience is having kids. The changes which you do not see on yourself anymore, will be replaced by your kids. You watch your kids grow, and it will feel like you grow one more time, just in a different way. It totally changes your perspective on age… and on everything.
Yeah, that’s what I’m kind of waiting and hoping for now as well. I think most of my own hangups stem from the fact that I don’t have anything else to be hung up on, if that makes sense. I don’t have a ‘new’ relationship, I moved away from home a long time ago, school/university has been over for years and I have a job – same as everyone who keeps calling me young. (Which I agree; it’s a complement – it’s the ‘too young’ part that riles me up.)
But! When my child(ren) starts wreaking havoc around me, I suppose the clock will ‘start again’ and I’ll have nothing but new times ahead of me. Maybe that’s what people really mean, that I still have so many experiences in front of me? The best is yet to come, so to speak! 🙂
Maybe I am young after all?
Thank you for the input, and sorry in advance for when my kids start messing with your stuff. 😉