Hardly a new thought, but one that keeps recurring to me is the conviction that we live our lives in a backward way. When we are young and strong and lithe and curious, we spend our time in school and then work, and then acquiring and meeting wonderful responsibilities such as children, mortgages, things, the list is long. We work our way through all that, convinced we will remain strong and lithe and curious, until we look up one day and people are deferring to us at the grocery store because our hair is no longer the original color and because, curiously enough, these tall children that are running things today think we are ‘old’.
And all the places we thought we’d go see, and all the things we thought we’d go do, well, they’re still on our list, but there are all those other barriers, such as lack of strength and litheness. Surely our young, when they are young, should be free to grab a duffle bag or a back pack and simply go. Some do, of course, but for the most of us, we postpone. And postpone. And postpone. In the scheme of things, this is hardly a tragedy. We all have choices and make good choices, for the most part. But many of us make those good choices while fully convinced that one day we’ll be free and able to realize the youthful list. We’ll go and see the pyramids. See firsthand what a tropical rain forest looks like. Spend some time in a small town in France or Italy or Scotland. And then one day we find ourselves perhaps free of all those duties and responsibilities, and ready to go see the world, but after we take a good look in the mirror, we realize that suddenly we’re no longer young. And what is worse, no longer young enough.