There Is No Point to Envying the Young or the Old

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Especially for the benefit of young people, how can I make the shortness of your life vivid enough for you to be properly warned?

It all goes by so fast.

Today, I turn 45 years old, and I have reached what will probably be the halfway point of my life. My grandmothers both lived to their late 90s, but I think 90 flat is probably my best outcome. The last 20 years of that, let’s face it, I’ll get limited use out of most of myself.

And my life so far has been so short it stuns me. Takes my breath away. I am still a child. OK, yoga helps with that. But there’s also a negative aspect to being young at heart… my memories of being young are still so fresh, I could wake up and be told I have to go to high school tomorrow and I don’t think I would miss a beat. You only begin to enjoy the song, and suddenly the record’s almost over. And a man in a black cape with no skin is going to smash your record the minute it ends.

Some days seem very long. Some waits seem very long. They are not. I have so very many memories, bizarre and sad and beautiful and everything else. But they all took place in a single instant. They can all be put on a microchip the size of a bedbug.

If you try too hard to savor something it eludes your grasp. But I am telling you, try. It melts like ice in spring. No; it melts like ice in boiling water. Before you see it, you’re looking at vapor, trailing away.

So don’t envy the young. If anything, smirk at them, but not too vigorously; they’ll know what you know, very soon.

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