Age, the funny system of numbers by which we define life, wisdom, experience, even self-worth. Each new year becomes a new tie between past, present and future. We look at our lives as they lie behind us and in front of us, wondering what they may hold, trying to determine, which years have been the best? Which are, which will be my Golden Years? Some of us look at an approaching year, years, decade, with dread, feeling that somehow we haven’t accomplished enough, that we’re loosing some important, necessary aspect of ourselves: youth.
Youth, yes, it is/was glorious in ways, but in others, not so much: the insecurities; the search for answers to the unanswerable questions; the need to know things, but not knowing what those things are; the idolization of the small picture; the obsession with the petty. It becomes easier to shed these things as time plows forward, making way for new understandings, revealing the big picture, finding confidence.
In truth, I am still shedding my youth, but I am taking my time, sloughing it off, piece by piece, deliberately. For me, each new year allows time to fray around me, spinning off to preserve the truths of the past yet allowing it to pull me on to the next adventure. In such a way, I can make each year my Golden Year, enjoying the newness and allowing reflection to guide me between the potholes left by the past.
For me, the past holds explosions so great that they have scared the road of the future for many miles to come. These scars define my last few years, and so, when I think of age, I think of the steps taken to reach this point and the way time has divided itself for my benefit.
At 19, everything was as it should be. H and I were still two years apart, me turning 19 a couple months after he turned 21. This is how it had always been. For two months, we’d be temporarily three years apart, only for me to catch up at the end of May. He was the older, wiser being I looked to, in some ways, as an example for how to live life. Take it in your hands, was his philosophy, and shape it any way you like.
At 20, time began to split, dividing into two strands. One remained frozen, with the proper number of years maintained. The other spun forward, falling headlong into this new dimension in which year ratios became dynamic, no longer fixed, as they used to be.
At 21, we were the same age, but I felt older, as if my youth at been sucked away and drained to give life to a memory, to preserve a past. Another strand of time became frozen: the twin strand.
At 22, I felt youth creeping back in, allowing the memory to fade. I was the older one now. It was my job to set an example, to lead the way, to show that living was worth every breathe. Another strand spun off, wrapping around this new understanding.
At 23, I am two years older than H. This year, the time strand freezes this point where the year ratio has returned, only reversed, so I am the strong, knowing being and H is the shadow. After this year, we will only become further apart. I will become all the things he cannot become. I will see, experience, do, live all the things he cannot and the strands of time will wrap around these moments so that I can keep going and yet not lose H to the dim corners of memory.
For me, each passing year is a gift in which to live life, find adventure and gather experiences to fill the voids. Yes, growing older is frightening, but in the end, every new year is an accomplishment, every new year shows you what you are capable of and proves to yourself that you can travel any path set before your feet.