Sunday, April 25, 2010

Grow old, but never grow up

I finished reading J-P Sartre's 'Age of reason' yesterday, and it got me thinking about my own stance on age. The characters in the book had a rabid fear of getting old and dealing with all the responsibilities that middle age brings with it. The main character was 35 and deeply miserable and fearful about it. He wanted nothing to do with taking responsibility for things he had done, and he surrounded himself with a bunch of whiners who wanted nothing to do with growing old. Reminds me of the way some hippies reacted when they realized they were approaching 30. Their philosophy was 'never trust anyone over 30', after all. Maybe they read 'Age of reason' and identified with it. Many of the hippies who made it past 30 eventually realized they needed to embrace reason and make the changes reason demanded.
Time and its changes are inevitable, and there's nothing our youth-oriented culture can do about it, no matter how much money it wastes to try and 'turn back the clock'. What is so attractive about being young, anyway? Children want to become adolescents and have new experiences; adolescents want to become adults and have all the freedom that comes from being adults. Then, around 35-40, some adults look back and yearn to be adolescents again and have the freedom and innocence of youth. 'The grass is always greener on the other side' -- where aging is concerned, truer words were never spoken. Or, to put it another way, society is never satisfied with its present position. Small wonder change is constant!
My dad has his own philosophy about age and time. 'If you can't stay young you can at least stay immature.' Actually, he got that from Steve Smith of Red Green fame, but it works for him and it works for me. Once I got past 20 it was smooth sailing, and I don't want to go back to my adolescence. Childhood might be nice, but it's not going to return in this life time, so I'm not going to pine for it. Besides, I go into a nostalgic haze every time I'm driving through my old neighbourhood or listening to pretty much anything from the 1980's or 1990's. 40 is just 10 years away for me, but I have no intention of dwelling on this fact. 30's pretty good, and things can only get better from here on in.
Okay. That's about all. BYE.

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