I am in my mid-thirties and have only recently begun to get over this exact same sensation, anytime ANYONE in a position of authority asks to see me for ANY reason, I always assumed I was in trouble.
Haha you’re old.
Separate from the pattern of Kyle’s lovable and subversive sass:
Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about how fucking ridiculous it is to call someone old? Like, haha, you’ve had more time on this Earth, that sucks. WHAT EVEN. That’s more time with which to watch a great movie, or read a life-changing book, or hang out with a loved one, or fuck someone.
Like, older people have had way more opportunities, and have actually passed a point you have no idea if you yourself will reach, like, haha, you’re 45, I might actually be dead by 45, but isn’t it hilarious that you’re so ~*old*~ and you’ve got all this ~*life*~ that you’ve *~lived*~
When I was about seven years old, my mother and I were sitting on the porch swing at my grandmother’s house. It was a sweltering Louisiana summer evening, the fireflies just beginning to flicker against the green cover of trees, the cicadas chirping and the metal chain on the swing clink-clinking every time we rocked back and forth. Full of youthful confidence, I turned to her and said, “Being a kid is better than being an adult.”
She regarded me with a little half-smile on her face. “Why’s that?”
“Because you don’t have lots of responsibilities and you can do whatever you want and you get to play all the time.” My mother made a noise that I took as confirmation that I was correct. Confidence bolstered, I plowed ahead: “So if you could, would you go back to being a kid again?”
“Nope. Not for a second,” she replied without hesitation.
My seven-year-old mind was blown. “Really? But what about all the bills and work and everything, don’t you want to be a kid again?”
She put her arm around my shoulders and pulled me into a hug. “Even with the bills and everything, being an adult is better than being a kid, kiddo.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“It’s okay, Allison. You don’t have to believe me,” she replied. And then my grandmother called us inside for banana pudding.
I remembered that conversation often when I was growing up — during late elementary school, when I was terrified of the transition into middle school and wishing things were simple like they had been in Ms. Llewellyn’s second grade class; in eighth grade, when my dad remarried for the third time and I wished I didn’t have to keep letting these stepmothers into my life only to let them go again; after my senior year in high school, terrified and excited on the edge of a precipice as I packed up for university, wondering at how simple things had been when I was only moving across town to a new school instead of moving across state lines.
Yeah, life gets complicated when you get older. Sometimes a lot more complicated. You might even end up like me, mid-thirties with a mortgage and a job you’re not entirely thrilled with and little people who depend on you for their daily survival.
Sometimes things are better, sometimes they’re worse, sometimes they’re abjectly miserable. Occasionally you’ll be required to bear burdens, the weight of which presses down on you until you can’t breathe and you think you’re going to die, and there’s no one to pass the brunt of it onto, no one bigger or stronger to help you carry the load. There’s only you, and when the burden leaves your back is a different shape than it was before. You stand straighter, or your shoulders are slightly crooked, or you limp a bit.
Then there will be those luminescent, transcendent moments that are full of such joy that it spills out of your every pore and floods every corner of your existence. When your heart expands and contracts and pulls the universe inside of your chest, the light of a thousand rapturous stars turning you into a firework.
This year, I’m turning the same age my mother was when I asked her that question, so many years ago. And y’know what? She was right. I would never, not for an instant, want to be a kid again. Not seven years old, not sixteen, not twenty or twenty-nine or thirty-three.
I like being old.
The view from here is fucking amazing.
I’m gonna start using, “Wow, you’re old!” as a compliment. Like, “WOW, you’re OLD! You’ve lived so long and had so many experiences, that’s FANTASTIC. I hope I’m lucky enough to be your age one day!”
Night sky with scattered thunderstorms below.
There’s something wonderful about Marvin Bileck’s minimal illustrations for All About the Stars.
You know, a few months ago this dude friend of mine showed up to hang out with me all dejected. Over a couple of drinks he explained his long face — earlier that night, he’d been walking down the street behind this really cute girl, and when she looked back at him over her shoulder, he thought it was in interest and smiled at her. Now, this guy is tall and skinny, can most commonly be found in glasses and t-shirts scrawled across with math jokes, is kind to animals, considers himself a feminist. What he doesn’t consider himself is threatening, so he was surprised, confused, and even hurt by what happened next: the girl in front of him responding to his called greeting of, “Nice skirt,” by taking off down the darkened street in a dead run.
“Yeah,” I said, “she probably thought you were going to rape her.”
“But that’s not fair,” he said. “I’m a good person; I’d never rape anyone! How could she think that? She doesn’t even know me.”
Out here in the wilds of the internet, I often find myself making arguments about shit like feminism and rape culture unilaterally. For one thing, there’s so much (like, so much) out there arguing unilaterally against this shit that I feel it’s necessary; for another thing, ‘round these parts there’s a lot of people jumping to hostility when it’s painfully clear they don’t have a handle on all the facts. But I’m more lenient with the people in my real life, especially dudes like the one mentioned above. I’m willing to extend to them a patience that I wouldn’t with strangers on the internet, because they matter to me, and it matters to me that they understand. So when my friend sat there that night, whining over his beer and responding to my attempted explanations with, “But I’d love it if a girl smiled at me on the street, or even catcalled at me! Fuck, even if a dude did it, I’d be flattered,” I decided to spend some time thinking about how to clear things up for him. It took awhile, but I finally came up with a metaphor to get the job done:
Consider the bank.
This is worth the click through.
Stargate SG-1, Season 8, Sacrifices