Friday, April 04, 2008

On aging...

I always have great ideas about what to write when I've either A) just posted a blog already, or B) am too tired to write because it is 2am and I need to go to bed.

The only firm thing I recall wanting to address today is my upcoming birthday. As it gets closer to the middle of June when I will kiss my twenties goodbye, I think that I am mostly okay with it. I always used to joke that I figured my thirties would be way better because it seemed like they would be what I had expected out of my twenties. I think I actually half-believed that. (Now I'm down to about ten percent.)

As much as I am looking forward to being taken more seriously, I am also still a little terrified of aging. I can tell that my metabolism has gotten the memo that things will be changing. Why? Because they've already started changing! Seeing how my father has aged has been really tough too. He's no longer the vibrant, engaged man he was when I was a child. At 70, the man who I knew as my father has turned into someone else. Sometimes there are flashes of him from before, but they come less frequently than they used to.

I'm not even going to be in town for my birthday this year, I leave a few days before it to spend two-and-a-half weeks in the wilderness at the Pilchuck Glass School. Was it just a few years ago when a birthday was just another excuse for a pub-crawl? What happened to the person who declared he was never going to, "get old and stop going out all the time." My semi-wild past has been replaced by a need to become responsible and professional. And as I get older and take on new perspectives about everything, I realize how little most of the everyday stuff I do matters, and how important it is to really make choices to do things that I believe in.

Does this sound depressing? It isn't. I have a sense of nostalgia for the past, but I don't feel a desire to try and appear to be something that I'm not. It might be disturbing to watch myself age physically, but it is a natural and (for the moment) unavoidable process. Plus, I really like learning and growing intellectually. I'm glad to be past that time of youthful arrogance when I thought I knew everything, or at least could figure it all out.

And I'm also getting beyond the need to feel like everything I do has to be perfect. For a long time I let that keep me from doing anything, since my expectations were so high that there was no way I could live up to them. More recently I just would get stressed out because I started knowing what I was capable of doing and recognized that it was good, but then I would overextend myself. Saying, "no," is difficult for me. Luckily (or not) I've been getting some good practice lately. I'm looking forward to a time in the future where I will accurately be able to recognize a situation as negative before I get into it, instead of accepting what people say at face value.

It'll all work out. I've got a few good years left at least, right?

No comments: