One of the most curious yet widespread neuroses of the day is the fear of growing older. Children often look forward to aging as it signifies getting the hell out of sixth grade, and the same holds true as one emerges from high school and then university. However, a strange turnabout seems to take hold with many twenty-nine-year-olds. Suddenly, the realization that thirty is looming causes great distress as they realize – contrary to what they had always believed – they will not remain eternally young. Suddenly, they question their place in the big picture and feel a vague and nagging pressure to be further up the ladder of success than they actually are.
How funny these little darlings are, for they do not realize that they are finally coming into their own, transforming from the oldest possible child on the planet to the youngest of adults! And their self-induced crisis of confidence is little more than karmic payback for the arrogance of youth, of which we are all guilty. And as the clock ticks on, each new milestone brings new questions and strange revelations, but the refrain is always the same. “I don’t feel forty.” “I don’t feel sixty.” “I don’t feel eighty.” And why would you? How exactly does one feela number? The answer is that you don’t, because you are the same person all along.
From the moment we are born, we are all moving closer to death on a daily basis. That’s not cynicism or a morbid outlook, that’s just the truth. And the sooner in life we accept that very simple fact, the sooner we can begin to live for the day and ensure that our lives are happy and rich with experience and laughter. You know the movie is going to end at some point, but it does no good to keep checking your watch.
The two types of people who squawk the loudest about growing older are those who are clinging to the past and those who believe that youth was the only advantage they ever had in life. For the former, sentimentality has eclipsed the present, and for the latter, low self-esteem has done the same. In both cases, some serious pleasures are in order to help these sad sacks shake the blues. And the beauty of life is that it’s never too late to change. So, snap out of it and stop feeling sorry for yourself, because there are big things in store.
Just keep your eyes open.
(From the writings of Michael Flocker)