The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Monday, May 16, 2011

Staying young while growing older

Being young is almost as difficult as being old.

When children are young, they count every birthday, even the halves.  “I’m almost five.”  “I’m four-and-a-half.”  That’s because children are absolutely certain that when they reach a certain age, they’ll have complete control over their lives.  No more naps.  No more vegetables.  No more unwanted baths.  They don’t know the secrets that adults carefully keep from them.  About how no one ever has complete control over their lives.  About how naps, vegetables and baths will become very welcome.  About how grownups still cannot eat all the candy they want.  About how Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy somehow disappear as we get older.  Is it any wonder adolescents are cynical?  Then there is a certain point in most folks’ lives when the birthdays become more shock than a surprise.  “I’m already thirty, or forty, or fifty.”  And then one arrives at sixty, and then, well ….  Maybe we approach it all backwards.  Because in adulthood, every day, much less every birthday, is a gift.  A do-over.  Inside ourselves, we're still that child.  

So perhaps children should be encouraged to say, “I’m only five.” There's no hurry.

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