Birthdays. The one day out of the year that you can be sure that people will notice your alive. Or at least mistakenly wish you a happy birthday and then gasp when learning of your death. A good giggle usually comes right after the gasp, so it’s all good.
It’s my brother’s birthday today and it got me thinking about birthdays and age and the general idea of it all. Not to sound to pessimistic, but birthdays are kind of like checks on a chart that is marking your impending demise. Which is also nice in a way, because you can get your affairs in order when you notice quite a few of those little scribbles on your chart. Or wrinkles on your brow.
When you think about age though, we set certain criteria to these numbers in our lives: You should have so and so completed by the time you’re this. When you get to this point you should stop liking that. When you cross this mark you should promptly do this to prevent this and that happening when you get here.
This is all well and good for the most part. We should meet certain criteria by certain times (give and take a little). A world full of adults who aren’t properly trained to use toliets sounds like a pretty awful time (or wonderful if that’s your thing). But it gets a little bit more confusing as you get older. Naturally things will change for you as you age, but how much of it is a natural occurence? Is a whole lot of it just you responding to your surroundings (society) and trying not to look bad?
I sometimes have these days, as I’m sure everyone does, where I feel old. I don’t know what it is that makes a certain day make you feel old. It could be mounting pressures that seep in from the “real world”. It could be that you’ve woken up with a particularly bad cramp in your neck that you can’t seem to shake. All of these things are normal signs of growing up. You get older and you have more things to worry about and take care of.You get older and your body isn’t what it once was.
But sometimes these thoughts of feeling old come from seemingly nowhere. There’s mornings where I wake up and I feel physically in peak shape with not a care in the world, but still there is this feeling of something isn’t right. I tend think about what exactly is wrong and I really don’t come up with much. But as I continue to dissect the inner workings of my mind I find that I’m comparing myself to others. I’m thinking about how I have a friend who got a job with so and so and is doing the 9 to 5 in an office (something which while not really appealing seems more and more satisfactory as I get older). Or I think about a friend who has to move to accomodate their work situation (something I don’t want to do, though as I get older the idea of starting fresh somewhere sounds not so bad). Or I think about an ex who is doing something that they love and following through on it (and I’m reminded about how I haven’t followed through on so many things that I claim to love). These thoughts, very blatantly, suck. I find myself in a well where I am constantly looking up at people who are doing something with their lives while I sit and splash around in murky water.
The odd part is that those thoughts aren’t all true. In fact, a lot of them are nonsense. I didn’t have a direct plan of what I wanted to do with my life but I am getting by and have taken steps to ensure that I can live comfortably. I am following through on dreams I’ve had and have (albeit at a slower rate than I thought I would).
Which leads me to think that all these thoughts I’ve had that make me feel old or make me feel like I should get older are there for that sole reason. Because I’m getting older. I’m pretty young now, but I’ll be dying relatively soon (when you look at things from a distance). I guess it’s a good idea to start acting like I’m getting older (whatever that means) if only to show others that I can. And I will because I already have. And I’m continuing to. And that’s life.