I’m not old, yet, but I am older than I used to be. At the age of 33, going on 34, it’s starting to sink in that I’m fast approaching mid-life, and this realization is a haunting one in many ways. Chief among these fears of growing older, is the reality of ‘feeling’ older. Things like ‘morning routines’, ‘sore muscles’, ‘anniversaries’, ‘bills’, and ‘birthdays’ all combine in a seemingly endless stream of reminders that youth is a quickly fading memory, and depending on precisely how much older we ‘feel’, we may as well already have one foot in the grave.
I, for one, refuse to submit to growing older. This is not to say I relish in the teenage rebellion of my youth, for if I did that throughout my teens and 20’s, I wouldn’t be alive to see my 30’s, and the fact is, I would still like to see my 40’s, 50’s, and at the very least my 60’s, which I hear are pretty groovy. There’s a saying that contends that a person’s soul is the combination of their spirit and body, and so if you only have one or the other, you’ve got no soul. Personally, I’m taking this adage with me to Heaven, or to Hell if so be it, because if I have to face the grim reaper one day, I’m not going to take death lying down, I’m going to be all up in death’s face, just like I’m going to be all up in life’s face while I’m still alive, enter: mind/body altering experiences.
I played team sports growing up, the coaches I had weren’t all awful, but enough were bad enough that I found myself quitting team sports and taking up things like snowboarding, skateboarding, and hacky sack. In my 20’s I thought I could make a good team sports coach, and try to reverse the trend for future generations, but what I discovered is that kids aren’t just having to deal with bad coaches, the entire ‘team sports’ system is rigged against players positive experiences, from the referee’s, to the parents, to the league directors, a nasty string of those touting ‘good intentions’ haphazardly disguised in the form of telling individual players ‘what to do’. Fun and joy, in team sports today, no longer comes naturally. Therefore, venture a guess as to what I now do in my 30’s…I snowboard, skateboard and play hacky sack again, and it’s a fricken’ splendid time.
Enter again those things in life which do come naturally: aging, wisdom, fun and a little bit of natures nectar: cannabis (thanks to places like Salem Oregon recreational dispensary). I like to think I’m living my life backwards to some degree, as if I had wisdom first, then I was able to have fun, then cannabis entered the scene, and now I finally feel like I’m aging. Oddly enough though, the aging I feel, the ‘feeling older’ I’m experiencing daily, feels absolutely euphoric.
The truth is that this euphoria I’m experiencing daily boils down to being true to my nature. I could have stuck with meeting other folks expectations my entire life, and ended up a horrible mess yesterday, today and tomorrow, but I said “no thanks”. It wasn’t easy, and in fact, it never is or ever will be easy to just ‘be myself’ (sounds crazy, I know), because others have, or feel they have, invested so much into ‘me’, they’ve developed this entitled sense that they get to help decide who I ought to be. Life works that way for some, folks who liken themselves to an axe, and everyone else to a grindstone, that they’re all just keeping them sharp, but for the ones who are enjoying getting older, and wiser, and freer than ever before, we’re not axe’s, we’re kites, and we’re concerned with flying higher, not chopping anyone or anything down, just building ourselves up with each passing breeze as the sun shines brightly and warms the surface of our souls, as we sore above the trees. That’s ‘getting older’ for me.