It’s funny, isn’t it? As little kids, we look at ‘our elders’ and yearn for their lives: their freedom, their cars, even their reach (both for cookie/snack availability and brake pedal/accelerator accessibility). You say things like ‘when I grow up I want to…’ and dream of the day you can decided for yourself if you can have a puppy or a beer. Even in your teen years, you think of the time when you no longer need to drag yourself to school, or have a curfew. Even though you are absolutely certain that your parents know NOTHING, that doesn’t stop you from envying them for their ability to ‘boss’ you around. When you’re in your twenties, you want to be more respected at work, have a higher paying job, a bigger ‘flat’…and all that happens as you enter your thirties.
Then it gets a bit murky…somewhere in your forties or fifties, you start looking at the pro-ball players and noticing that they are beginning to look like the kids who live down the street. You go to the movies and don’t recognize any of the actors, but their last names are familiar; it’s a shock to find out that their parents starred in your all-time favorite movie (yep, that 39 year-old actor on-screen is Jordan Bridges, whose dad is Beau Bridges, and (to add insult to injury) whose granddad is Lloyd Bridges!).
As you age a bit more, and hit your sixties, seventies, and, if you’re lucky, eighties/nineties/+, those little aches and pains that you were noticing in your fifties start to attract more of your attention. You can’t believe you’re saying things like, “I remember when…” and “when I was your age….”. You look fondly back at your forties and fifties, forgetting that you really didn’t appreciate those years when you were actually living through them. Those pesky ‘barnacles of life’ (as my mother calls them) start to become more apparent and you stare at the mirror, wondering if that lump/bump/spot was there yesterday and if it has gotten any bigger? …and you’re having problems remembering what it felt like to wake up in the morning and jump out of bed with no aches or pains.
So, where is the perfect age? …and why don’t we know it when we are immersed in it?
Okay, I have the answer, but it’s going to sound a bit obvious — the perfect age HAS GOT TO BE the one we’re living through right now — because it’s the only one that’s real! The other ages are simply memories or hopes. ….and, if we don’t recognize the glory of today’s age, shame on us for pining away for something that isn’t real while missing what is right in front of us!