Do you remember drinking water from the hose on a hot summer day, while running around the neighborhood with your friends? Man those were the days! Summer never seemed to end. The days lasted for months and everything was important yet nothing mattered. Playing G.I. Joe in the back yard. Building with Lego’s past your bedtime cause you have an idea. Drawing the creatures from our imaginations. Dreaming big about becoming a firefighter, astronaut or president, no one told us we couldn’t, they encouraged us. The simple joy of childhood. As kids we had fun, I don’t have very many sad memories as from my childhood.
Then we transform like the Autobots we used to play with. We gain self-awareness, we care about the dumbest things like clothes and hair and gadgets. We form groups and forget about some of our childhood friends. The teenage years seem to last forever, but not the way they did when we were kids. We just want to become adults and drive cars and have sex. Funny how I seem to only remember the bad things from these years.
Next stage is different for people, so much so that some people never grow out of the post-high school slump. Adulthood comes and we don’t know what to do. Some go off to college and become doctors and lawyers, others start families and still others just continue to crave becoming an adult and sex and waste away years acting like sixteen. The problem with my generation is that most of us are stuck here. This stage should only last from eighteen until about twenty two or so, but some of my generation are twenty seven and still lost. An insecure teenager stuck in the body of an adult.
The problem here is that the stage of twenty five to fifty is the stage of adulthood. When we become society. We will get elected to Washington, we will discover new medicines and scientific breakthroughs that will make our child and grandchild’s lives easier. Yet we don’t know how to be adults. Maybe I’m speaking to the boys out there, but I would surmise that even the girls out there have a similar problem. We grew up in single parent homes. We had to teach ourselves stuff we didn’t even know we had to learn.
As little kids we didn’t know the world was horrible so we lived in bliss, never realizing it would ever end. I honestly believe I had a happy childhood, yet why is it that when I think of my youth I want to cry? I guess because I want to go back and just enjoy the simplicity of those years. Then again when I think of my teenage years I want to cry as well, but it is for regret of lost years. I wish I could go back and make more wise choices. And now here I am in that middle stage between teenager and adult. I feel stuck in limbo, I’m sure once I get out of this stage I’ll look back on it and want to cry and probably out of regret. I know I could have used these years much more efficiently.
I am concerned for the children of my generation. I have a young son, and when I think about him I want to cry. He is a beautiful creature, wild and free and living ignorant to the pains of life. The problem is, I don’t know how to capitalize on his youth and make it the best for him. I don’t know how to be a father, no one taught me. I feel like a failure most days, yet the funny thing is my son keeps smiling and asking me to play with him. He loves me unconditionally, even though I keep screwing up. And he keeps growing up and I keep feeling like I’m wasting time doing other things than spending it with him. Sure when he looks back at his childhood he’ll probably be like me and think it was happy and good. I know when I look back on his childhood I’ll cry and wish I could have my little boy back. I say this as he is still a little boy who just wants me to tell him stories before he goes to bed. He’s my best friend.
It amazes me how short life is and also how simple it is. It is a series of cycles, a bunch of choices that when put together make up our lives. I for one make mostly bad decisions and then regret them later. But we can’t go back in time, so maybe regret is a useless trait of humans. Like many have said, just learn from your mistakes and your past. Yet I tend to repeat my history, and I am not very good at planning my future. Life is just a few short years on earth, maybe between 70-80 years or more if your lucky. You struggle for thing and wish and plan for that. I forget sometimes that right now is my life! Life wont begin when I get the nice house and car one day, these hard times are also my life. The other thing is that as we grow old and die our child are entering the world and beginning to discover who they are and what they want to do to occupy their time on earth. And then they will be us and their children will be them and we will be dead.
I’m not an old man yet, I’m barely twenty six, so I have no clue what it’s like to be old. I imagine it will be interesting. You know you only have a few years left to live, and yet you have all the wisdom you’ve acquired throughout your life. You are really just then getting started. I am just guessing this, but if I look at my dad who has a wealth of knowledge yet probably only a few years left, he could write a book and we could all learn a thing or two from him. But he is just enjoying his remaining years with his wife and I don’t blame him, just saying it would be an interesting place to be. At least I know I have a few more years to screw up and try to get it right. When you’re an old man you don’t have much time to make mistakes.
When I think of growing old I get sad and want to cry. I think about my parents and miss my childhood when I could just ask them to kiss my scratched knee to make me feel better. When they were my strength and comfort. As an adult I have to be my son’s strength, but sometimes I still wish someone were mine. I also think about how one day they will die and know I will miss them. I will miss the nights we sat around as a family and played games and laughed, the memories I will never forget yet wish I could remember better. I love to look at old pictures yet I hate that they are just a frozen time capsule that can never be returned to, except for in our minds and our minds distort things.
We all want a happy life, but I don’t think that is possible. We get the life we live. The one based on the choices of our parents and then on the choices we make thereafter. There are moments of happiness and sadness. There are times of great joy and of great sorrow. But all we have is the moment we are in, right now. At some point in our lives we will stop breathing and absolutely nothing we owned or said will matter, we will die and those living will miss us. Our children will cry and remember us the way they will. And they will continue with their life and choices and they too will one day die and at this point we will be but a name to our grandchildren and great grandchildren.
I think the more you analyze life you more simple it becomes. Death is what is complicated, because we don’t know anyone who is dead. Every religion and ideology has an idea about what happens after death. Atheists believe there is no God therefore we just disappear and nothing happens when we die. Yet if this is true than I see no point in living, because it means that everything is completely pointless, that there is no reason to do anything. I have always believed a Christian version of the afterlife. If I have that wrong than I hope it is at least some form of heaven, although every version of heaven is different depending on the religion. I like the Christian idea of eternity with God.
Eternity is a scary thought and has always made me emotional. It is because I simply am a human and cannot fathom anything that isn’t measured by something. And the beauty of the Christian eternity is that it gives our human lives a purpose. It isn’t so much that we get our slot in heaven and then do whatever we please, it is about being a good person and sharing this joy and peace with others. If you knew how to get a million dollars for free from a source that was willing to give it to anyone who asked, wouldn’t you tell everyone you knew? That is a bad example because eternity with God will be much better than a million dollars.
I wish I could be a kid again and it makes me sad. I just want to cuddle with my mom and dad and live a simplistic life again, let them worry about all the grown up stuff. But who knows, they might wish they could be kids again too. I wish I could go back to my teenage years knowing what I know now and prepare myself better for adulthood. I wish I could go back to my child’s birth and be a better father from the beginning. I wish for a lot but I don’t have a magic genie and even if I did my list is longer than just three.
I hope that from this day forward I will live my life more productive. I hope to be a better father and I hope to be a strong man when I finally become an adult one day. I hope when I’m an old man I will look upon my life as being a success. I hope to not have too many regrets. I hope for a lot of things, but the only hope I have that I know to be true is that when I die I will spend my afterlife with my Creator. As much as I love my parents, they are just screw ups like me and everyone else. But my Creator fashioned me the way I am because that is how He wanted me to be.