Monday, September 14, 2015

#38. The Age of Choice

Write about the age you are now. How does it feel? Better or worse than you expected?
OPTIONAL: Work on your fiction and share.

I've written so much about how I feel about the age I am - in my other blog (see here) or in comments to my friends' blogs. I think it boils down to two ways of looking at age and aging. One, the most common, is purely physical way. Yes, yes, mother nature created us, alive creatures, so that we look cute and attractive to the opposite sex when we are young. There is no sense denying it - it is just simple facts. Our skin looks fresh and smooth (after we stop struggling with the teenage pimples), and many of us have no troubles remaining in good shape when we're young - we are healthy and strong, so again, we can work, have children and take care of them. We just look so darn adorable, most of the time - there is no need for much effort to look good, practically get up in the morning and go, cute as ever, even after a sleepless night or two. 

But in exchange for all this cuteness, our heads are full of uncertainties. Who we are? What are we here to do? Which way to choose in life? Questions, questions. I sort of relive it again with my teenage daughter now. She is on the edge of becoming an adult, and she knows - her childhood is ending, and in a few short years she will have to be fully responsible for her life. While it excites her, it at the same time feels overwhelming. I remember I always wanted to grow, to get older. As a kid, I wanted to start school as soon as possible. Then I wanted to become a pioneer, as soon as possible. Then a member of Komsomol. Then I wanted to graduate from school and start university, as soon as possible. Then finally, when I graduated from the uni (and I truly loved those years), I felt like I was flying. Like nothing can ever stop me - the whole world is in front of me, open with possibilities, and I sure will have an extraordinary life. That feeling that I will have an extraordinary life, was there as long as I can remember myself. And I always, always wanted to be older than I was. 

By the age of 40, I realized that I had reached that point when I finally was as old as I wanted to be. I know, it sounds like a paradox to most people. I was out of shape, I went through a huge personal crisis, disappointment and grief, I felt like something big and wonderful had finished, and it was... the end of the age of innocence for me. Not a physical one, but an innocence of my soul. I think they also call it naivety. I also realized that a lot of people go through this crisis somewhere around 40, a bit earlier, a bit later, and it is what's called a midlife crisis. It's the point when I realized that it is up to me to either let the disappointment win and leave its deep stamp on my face, or lose the naivety as a kid disease and grow further up, over the disappointment, up, up, and up. It was up to me to grow further up or stay in the stagnation of disappointment with the stamp of disapproval of life, as I thought many people do, and that is why they are afraid of aging. This other way to look at age, the non-physical way, is all about the beauty of our soul after it lost its innocence, its "cuteness". It became more mature, it had some serious work to do, and it took the whole responsibility for whatever happened to it before, whatever is happening now and whatever will happen in the future. This is the age I am now, the age of choice, the age of taking the responsibility for the beauty of my soul, with a little more effort on my part than the purity, or naivety of youth. And if along the way I will also decide that my physical beauty is pretty much up to me too, with a little more effort than just get up in the morning and going, then I'm fine with that. In my world, the physical follows.

20 minutes

1 comment:

  1. What a powerful way to look at a "mid life" crisis. It's not a crisis but a maturation-how you resolved it. I wonder if any one knows how cute they really are when young?