In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Golden Age.”
It is ironic that such a “daily prompt” would be given, of all days, on my birthday. (This was actually written yesterday.) The entire day I had told myself that age is nothing but a number.
“If you had to live forever as either a child, an adolescent, or an adult, which would you choose — and why?”
Suddenly, it was all much more than a simple number.
My golden age was 26-28 years old for the longest time. Old enough to know better, still young enough to enjoy it. Boy did those two years fly by fast when they finally happened for me. In my mission to embrace what is and let go of what was, it brought a great inner struggle to hold to my small window of “the golden years”. Had my golden age changed?
Do I want to live forever as a child?
Sure, there’s the freedom from adult stresses. The joys of true play and discovery. The big dreams as you stand with your entire life before you. But, there really is no true freedom at all. Every single person around you is controlling a part of you. Bedtimes. Rules. Chores. Homework. Teachers. Parents. Everywhere around you there is someone else thinking for you, dictating you. And really, if you were to be a child forever, wouldn’t the freedom of those big dreams slowly dissipate as you began to realize that you would never be out from under a dictatorship? No. That wouldn’t be nearly as fun as it sounds at first glimpse.
Do I want to live forever as an adolescent?
The awkward years? No thank you! Your teenage years were awkward on everybody, not just you. Those “authority” figures around you are losing their grip, and they are panicking about this new chapter as much as you are. You are just beginning to realize that you have a brain inside of your head. That you have the ability, the responsibility, to decide about the world around you for yourself. But, you aren’t yet done being educated by those teachers and parents and other figures around you. You are not putting your own roof over your own head and you must abide by ‘their’ rules, no matter how much you question them. No. There is not much freedom there either. Just awkwardness as you limbo between the child’s world and the adults.
Do I want to live forever as an adult?
Well… I think that is a pretty broad question. 18-110 is quite the age range. There are so many chapters, stages, different levels of life throughout that time frame.
18-25 you are simply an overgrown teenager. Still deciding about the world around you. Now you have the freedom to take those decisions to the next level. Of course, for many of us, that freedom is hidden behind a wall of responsibility. For me, that freedom was very hidden. So hidden in fact, that it would take me years past this time frame to begin to truly tap into those freedoms.
I think about this as I watch my step children age through this stage. I remember how it was back then. You know so much, yet so little. I watch as they struggle. They try and they fail. They spread their wings, and the world clips them so they can not fly.
I watch it all, from my step-mom box, so close, yet so very far. I sit in my box as their dad hollers at them to quit going back to that no good loser. I sit and remember when I was told the same thing about him. My heart embraces his child, knowing exactly how they feel.
I sit in my box as their dad gets frustrated because they still struggle, through the same obstacle, time and again. I sit and remember all the struggles that we went through to get to where we are. There were years of heartache. Years of pain. Would I change a thing to save myself, from myself? Nah. So why save them from their pain, as hard as it is, when their pain is what they truly need to fly with clipped wings?
I sit in my step-mom box, so close, yet so far, and I watch the progression of life between child and parent. As I dictate my own children’s lives, saving them from the pain of unwise decisions, I wonder if anything really ever changes as we swim through the stages of life.
Yes, 26-28 are still a very appealing age to me. Old enough to know better, still young enough to enjoy it. But, I can’t turn back the clock. That time has already came and went and I can not live thinking that the best years have passed me by so fast.
As I slip ever too quickly from that age range, I learn and grow in new ways each and every day. Maybe, I was weighed down with too much “adult” long before I was ready. Maybe, I just didn’t have the freedom to grow in the ways that I was meant to grow when I was meant to. I can’t help but to think about this as I sit in a room full of my college peers that are nearly half my age. Their educational paths written out in specifics as I sit next to them, grey whispers along my hairline, my degree currently listed as ‘undecided’. I wonder if my chance passed me by, yet there I sit, my homework done for half the semester as they struggle through the assignments from week 1. I sit in my little box, so close, yet so far, and I wonder how many of these “peers” will be in the same place I am in another ten years. Maybe… I shouldn’t be so quick to compare.
The golden years must lie somewhere in a distant future. Somewhere further ahead where I truly know who I am and what the world is. The years where I am old and grey and looking back on life with a knowledge that right now I can only imagine.
Maybe I just watched the Golden Girls too much as a child.
As I officially leap into another decade of my life, I reflect on what was, what is, and what is to come and I can only know what I have already figured out; life passes us by like a high speed train.
I slowly release the weight of the world that has been cast onto my shoulders through my blog, realizing with each passing post that “what was” can only weigh me down until I let it go. I release it into the world to be just another post on just another blog.
I look towards the future getting caught up in a whirlwind of possibilities. The nagging voice of my age and life choices dig into my fantasy of having a wide view of possibilities. I can’t take off to Egypt for a year any more. Well, I could, if I wanted to leave my children and my husband and my family and my life. Not much of a choice when you think about it. No, the progression of life has limited my opportunities. I can not live in the future. It will come quick enough all on it’s own.
When is the golden age? Deductive reasoning has left us with only one true answer…
The golden age must be now. Right here. Right now. This year. This month. This week. This moment. We must embrace ‘what is’ and nothing else, because like a speeding train, it will be gone far too soon.
If not for the moments, there is no reason to live at all.
~After reading this you MUST go read The Joys of Aging. I read this persons post about 6 hours after I typed this post and it nearly toppled me over with relief. My VERY favorite part was a comment that says, “Life starts at 40!” That means I’M GOOD, I still have 9 more years before it even starts!!! =)