Time. Shíjiān. Vremya. Temps. Jikan. Samaya. Tempo. Zeit. Tiempo. Sigan. Czas.
Growing up sucks. When I was in the eighth grade and first experimented with black eyeliner I thought I was the coolest girl to walk into school the next day- and every year after that- with each new discovery made, I thought the aging process was the best thing to happen to me since a padded bra.
You know that food wall you hit on Thanksgiving Day? Turkey drumstick after turkey thigh, one too many helpings of mom’s carb-loaded mashed potatoes and boom, you feel like you were whacked in the face, gut and back with a 2×4. Ladies and gents, that is my fine metaphor for growing up.
Every day plays a whimsical soundtrack of lively music (with the occasional emo tune in regards to your first or second heartbreak) and a calendar means nothing more to you than a reason to have 12 glossy photos of that hunky model next to your bed. Then one day it hits you. The bills hit you, the responsibilities for yourself and others hit you.
No matter how much I try to dig for some signs of water beneath the sand, the hourglass is ticking and my fountain of youth is drying up.
Granted, I am 24 years-old. Nearing my supposed quarter-life crisis in just under 3 months (June 22nd, please mark your calendars appropriately), I cannot help but feel overwhelmed with how fast the years go by. Cue Pink Floyd’s, Time, for heart-heavy lyrics; a cause for nostalgia overload and flashbacks.
When I was around 14 years-old, I began helping my dad with his side business doing peoples’ yard work, planting flowers and raking leaves. This one elderly woman in particular, Helen, used to invite my father and I inside for dessert after we were through in her yard. Stories of her teenage years were inevitable, most likely sparked by my presence as a growing young lady, I am assuming.
“My years were the best years America has seen,” the 80-something year old woman in good health would say every time.
“I have seen it all. I have seen so many changes. I planned for a great life with my husband.”
Well, five years after Helen’s passing, I still remember sitting in her kitchen, with her two beagle dogs and my father, snacking on Piroline’s and lemonade- John Sterling on AM radio announcing play by play of Yankees baseball- the summer soundtrack of my childhood. Sometimes, the simplest of phrases affect you- they linger on and make a home for themselves in your heart. That was one of them.
Thinking of the new season, the budding of flowers and the help my dad will likely ask for during the cleaning of the yard, I thought of Helen.
It does not seem so far off after all, being 80 years-old and all. She seemed happy being old, comfortable and able to pass on her story of planning for the future.
Now on the other end of the age spectrum, I had a close work acquaintance once who was talking to me about his friend’s death. He was in a car accident at 25 years-old. My friend went on to tell me more than the usual, “he was a good guy, everyone loved him.” He told me that his friend never had any real plans for the future. He worked, and he worked hard. But there was something about his love for living every day (but responsibly) that made it clear to almost everyone he was close with that he would not make it past 30 years-old; as if he was not meant to live a long life.
It was strange to say about someone. I was moved a bit.
So what is the key to feeling young? Not just acting like a skanked out soccer-mom who hits the 18+ clubs on the weekends while Bobby, Jane and Johnny are home with the babysitter, I mean there has to be something deep down in our souls that can be unearthed, like a Genie in a Bottle- but more realistic. Help me. Growing old is getting tough, and while many have their difference of opinion on what age actually makes you “officially” old, I want all the advice I can get.
I want to figure out the key to feeling young (not necessarily looking young- I can figure that out with a quick browse through the Yellow Pages), and I want to make it last for my lifetime.
Is it love? Is it health? Will I be able-bodied during my retirement? Is it knowing that no matter how old you get, and how powerless we are against the clock, there is always something in this beautiful world we have not yet seen- nor we ever will? Or does the stress of knowing that this world is, in fact, too big to see, and it weighs us down- binding our feet in their inevitable place in a convalescent home, without family, without any ability to travel beyond a television set?
Let me know before three months is up, or this incoming quarter-life crisis is going to be one badass to be reckoned with.
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain. And you are young and life is long and there is time to kill today. And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.
And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking. Racing around to come up behind you again. The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older. Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.