There was this nursery rhyme, the name of the persona is changed in most countries for native purposes but this is how it went;
Solomon Grundy, Born on a Monday, Christened on Tuesday, Married on Wednesday, took ill on Thursday, Grew worse on Friday, Died on a Saturday, Buried on Sunday, That was the end, of Solomon Grundy. It is of course just a disclosure of how life supposedly unfolds, wrapped up in a silly little rhyme. But as the playfulness of the rhyme falls away, one is inclined to see the truth hidden in it. We share these patterns and although they are relative to our circumstances, we all feel a certain way at a certain age. From the wonders and confinement of childhood, the frustrations and revelations of adolescence, the empowerments and mile stones of adulthood, the recognitions and resignations of old age.
“I do not miss my childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumble. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.”-Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the end of the Lane. It is a fact that we do not choose our families, our circumstances, our lives. We are born and caught up in a web spun by others and at this young age we are dependent on our guardians, these people we look up to.
Unknowingly, they mold us into what they want us to become and we fold willingly, but still holding onto a freedom that they have themselves lost or given up, a vibrant nature without prejudice. A soul that forever runs, almost always happy, questioning everything and forgiving easy.
“Teenagers. Everything is so apocalyptic.”-Kami Garcia, Beautiful Creatures.
Personally teenage wasn’t on my to-do list, I just skipped right past it to the part where I left off, being an awesome nerd. I discovered that I loved to write and so is the story of every person out there. It is a confusing time; that pimple on your face looks like it just moved in with its entire nuclear family to stay and never go away. High school feels like a job you just can’t leave and you feel like everyone has a vendetta against you, including your own time-bomb of a body. But it is a time of revelations; the musician picks up his guitar, the athlete joins his sport, the writer dips his stylus into the inkpot for the first time and upon the blank piece of paper before them they create a colorful world of enlightenment. At our most vulnerable, we become the strongest, the bravest and forge our way into our future.
“The young man…was sure he would not be killed because he was twenty-two years old.” Marcel Proust, In search of Lost Time, Volume VI.
Just recently, our Orthopedics lecturer made a joke and it entailed any of us being caught in parts of the campus hostels we weren’t supposed to be in. He said, in your 20’s, your bones have the greatest regenerative power, so you could as well jump off that three-storey building rather than be caught. Life demands a lot from us in our 20’s, we’re expected to act and do as adults but within we still feel like children, dependent on our parents for as little as the clothes we wear. It is the time our decisions actually matter, they change the course of our life for better or worse. Our education, friends and relationships all bear with them a gravity that wasn’t there before, crushing us with all that weight. But carpe diem, she once told me…one day at a time, live in the moment for they’ll be no use regretting the days spent looking too far into the future and losing your present.
“The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits.”-Hervey Allen.
An adult in all ways, you are probably independent, stable and in a good relationship/marriage, kids possibly and life going as planned. And although time waits for no man, it stands still for the woman at 35, at the prime of her life, she is Venus…red carpets for her, the family she always wanted. The men now carry no more that boyish allure, they have settled down,perhaps with some few exceptions. Dreams become a small reality that they are content to have. It is a time of Zen.
“Age is not measured by years. Nature does not equally distribute energy. Some people are born old and tired while others are going strong at seventy.”-Dorothy Thompson.
Health enthusiasts, the vegetarians precisely now see the clarity of their decisions, they pay far less visits to the doctor and age more gracefully now more than ever. Comorbid diseases like hypertension and diabetes now wrestle within to gain control of a body we once called ours. Men are now grown up and ready for colonoscopies, unavoidable might I say.
“At eighty-five…he saw his decline as a ripening and an apotheosis.”-Vladimir Nabokov, Bend Sinister.
We now embrace our battalion of grandkids, seeing in their eyes once more, our children running around in their youth, unrepentant of their happiness and so we pamper them anyway. We have seen more than we have believed, passed our own judgments and learnt our own lessons and are we the wiser? I don’t know.
“Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, although he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigour. With such people the grey head is but the impression of the old fellow’s hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life.”-Charles Dickens.
A lifetime of memories, we don’t know if it’s enough. We might die young, we might die young at heart and some might not even live at all, but time is the river that we are coursing, and with the stormy nights and the Caribbean sunshine days we live still saying Carpe diem.