I keep saying that I don’t know how to behave my age… or even how to be it. That comes from comparing myself to people in my surroundings. The worst is comparing myself to people I work with or come into contact with on the professional sphere; comparing how far they’ve gone to where I still am… despite being the same age. Yet I realized today that my age is more and more becoming one of the defining markers of my identity.
One of the ways age is manifesting itself in me is my inability to feel that youthful joy… do you know which one I’m talking about? This is not merely related to falling in love… it can be something you feel with your friends… or just, you know, while contemplating the future; that particular moment when you gaze ahead and feel hopeful of what is to come. I always wrinkle my nose at teenage naïvety, as for me it has mostly had destructive outcomes, but perhaps that is what makes those emotions possible; the feeling that whatever future you have planned for yourself will fall into place smoothly.
Is it the popping of our balloons, the realization that implementing our decisions is pragmatically more difficult than we assumed, that takes that youthful joy out of us? That extinguishes our flame? Is it that which even deems daydreaming futile?
I have often heard older people reminisce youth and claim that those days will never return. And I thought it was always about the happiness you felt when life was all play. I would argue, in my mind, and believe that joyful times return once you have children of your own and then grandchildren. But it was never about that. It was never about what they believed they could not do, it was about what they probably will never be able to feel again, because their minds are too corrupted by all the knowledge and moral lessons that constitute adulthood.
I don’t doubt my view will be seen as grim by many. I know for a fact there are many adults out there who probably have no idea what I am talking about or think I am wrong. That does not necessarily mean those people are immature; they have just found a way around all these things that I just described. Maybe one day I will do too. But for the moment, like a grumpy lady too old for her age, I will take secret pleasure in the downfall of the joyous youth of today as they progress into adulthood.