Monday, April 2, 2012

We're getting older but we're still young

Over a quarter of a century ago my Dad was about my age, learning French in Belgium, preparing to spend 2 years in the relatively small West-Central-African country of Cameroon. Years later, he would go to Nepal and Thailand in late 1990 to work in Community Development, just months after I was born. Now his French is a bit rusty, though he can still get by, it's been decades since he worked in that field and he's now retired from working life.

I've looked through an album of his from his early twenties, a scrap book of quotes cut out from magazines and pictures of him with flared pants, a leather jacket and ray bans. The rectangled sentences read something like the mottos and phrases I keep scribbled in notepads I have or those stuck on my mirror. An obsession with other peoples words' runs in the family.

That was 'Then' for Him, this is Now for me. Now is the arrival of the long awaited, highly anticipated 'Growing Up' stage. Most of my friends have graduated or are about to, have lined up careers through graduate programs for top tier law firms, Transnational Corporations, PR offices overseas or are building robots for their thesis'. Yes, I am surrounded by incredibly driven, talented, smart people who gratefully still find it fitting to hang around with a bum like me. The point is... we're pretty grown up now, we're Adults in The Real World (with business attire, non-sensical acronyms and office speak like 'touch base' to boot) how and when did that happen?

I forget so often that we're at that stage in our lives where things are only just beginning to GET REAL. Speaking to my Dad it gives me comfort to know that I am not alone, nor have I ever been or will be, in being young and all that that implies. The Not Knowing, the Knowing, the Finding Out, the Multiple Crisis'... We're not unique in our youth, even our parents were young once too (shocking, really - how did they exist before I was born??). They wanted to Do Things, they had ideas about The World, about who they wanted to be, what they wanted to do but mostly they didn't know - and that helps me, a lot.

Because they did alright. And we'll be just fine. In fact, in the mean time we'll be awesome. It's not a bad gig being Us in this day and age. There's a certain sadness and a small hope knowing that every generation before us and those that come after will be wrought with the same questions... and the world will continue nonetheless (discounting the impending question of environmental self-destruction but let's leave that one to another day). 

And then there's this song. Partially because Dad I know you're reading this but also because it's true.

I was once like you are now, and I know that it's not easy,
To be calm when you've found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you've got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

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