Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Have I ever mentioned that I used to be scared of growing old? The very idea of being forced to go on the slow march to the ages of 20s and 30s mortified me. Back then the mid-20s and the 30s seemed really far away, something that's only supposed to happen to adults. Being an adult means carrying back breaking responsibilities with you with stone-faced seriousness of mature people. I was still enjoying my youth and even though the tides of time carried me on after school to the open sea of jobs, I stubbornly held on to the last vestiges of my youth. I still wore oversized shirts and pants, I listened to pop and alternative music, and I kept with the times and trends in an apparent (and pathetic) denial of the inevitable. I even rebelled against the system and the stupid politicking that was rampant in my first job.

The fact that I wasn't alone in this predicament gave me some comfort. They even gave it the name "Quarter Life Crisis," a dilemma that faced people the same age as I was. Looking back then, maybe it was Dad's way of pushing the pause button in our lives and forcing us to re-evaluate what we really want in our lives. Sure, most of us felt like the years just passed by and we never had enough time to enjoy our youth. That the things we want to enjoy bypassed us and landed on the laps of the next generation. And instead of questioning the meaning of everything we've done some 30 years in the future, we asked ourselves the question now: "Who am I really? What is my place in the world? Have I contributed anything significant?" Maybe that is the problem, that we asked ourselves these questions when we know that we don't have the answers. We didn't exactly will ourselves to be born or choose to be who we are, we simply were. Now these questions are potent and we cannot expect anyone to give us the correct answers because everyone carries with him or her parts of a bigger puzzle that only relate to themselves. No, we have to bring these small pieces of the puzzle to our Dad who already saw them as a whole. And if we allow him to he'll amaze us with the way he puts them all back together, former pieces that didn't seem to fit will magically link together one by one. That is, if you'll let him.

Me? I'm not afraid of growing up anymore. Part of my puzzle showed me that it's okay to still look for fun, to laugh at the most frivolous joke, to still be fascinated with the trivial, to be who I really am. Who says that to be mature means you have to be serious all the time? Feh! Far from it being mature actually means being able to balance wisdom with whimsicality, responsibility with tomfoolery, to proceed in life with a sense of purpose, and relating to everyone with the same amount of graciousness that you yourself have received.

In fact I'm looking forward to living the next decades in the best way possible. So much so that when I'm old and on my deathbed surrounded by loved ones, I'd be able to say with full conviction that I had fun.

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