So my sixteen-year-old asked me, “How old were you when you first began to feel old?”
This coming from him gave me pause…. “Somewhere after 45,” I told him. He looked dumbfounded. Forty-five might as well be ninety-five to him, that was old. “Well I feel old now,” he said. “I don’t know what I am going to do,” he looked at me. “Well, you are going to have a summer, then go back to school for your senior year, then you will graduate and be out in the world,” I said.
I didn’t go into the great flux of life and all that. Like right now my life lately has consisted of me riding a bike after a very long time. Since age fourteen to be exact. Like an uncertain seventeen-year-old, my legs get weak when I think of going out and tackling the distance of the world on a bicycle. The muscles are weak starting off, I have to build momentum and I’m plagued by uncertain routes, which one is best and on what day? Do I tackle the hills? Will I make it to the top? Will I crash coming down?
It’s hard being any age in today’s world: young, old, in-between. Self-doubt creeps in, failure threatens every turn – it’s always there. What’s out there? What does it really mean? You can’t dwell on it all, and this is what I tell the young one. I say, take the driver’s seat or the bike seat. Aim to finish what you start, go past the point where you legs are burning, stay optimistic that you can handle the heat, the pain. Change routes if you need to, take the easier path sometimes – it is okay, be courteous along the way, always be willing to learn something, get up – try harder next time.
You may never be stronger than right now, because tomorrow everyone gets a little older, vision become more clouded, dreams are discarded. On we go, each person keeping their own unique rhythm to the incessant, ticking clock hours, memories are stored behind the clock, the child tucked away inside each of us.