One of those constant tropes you hear when you’re a kid is that you think the world revolves around you.
“Oh, kids these days, they’re so selfish. They think the world is their oyster. They don’t believe they’re going to grow old. They don’t think time will happen to them.”
As a kid, I used to think that was bullshit.
‘Of course I’m going to get old,’ my younger self thought. ‘That’s what happens to everybody. We all get birthdays, we all get taller, and we all get old.’
But I didn’t really know.
I fell into the stereotype of a kid that I bristled so much at. But it’s like a Catch-22. You’re not truly a young person if you have the mindset of an older person, no matter how much you might want to avoid preconceived notions.
Side note: Preconceived notions have and always will be the bane of my existence.
Now that I’ve grown some, I’m hyper aware that I’m…well, I’m aware that I’m older. And with this awareness has come this kind of resignation, a this-is-it weariness.
‘Cause, I mean, after high school, it was all about “what comes next.” Where are you going to college? What do you want to do with your life? Where do you see yourself in five years?
And now that I’m past that point, all I can think is, “Oh well. That’s all there was to it.”
From where I’m standing, life is all about the future. Life grows, life moves forward, or, to quote Ian Malcolm, “life finds a way.” When you’re a kid, you embody that potential. It’s annoying to hear all the time, but kids are the future. When you grow up, the future stops being you.
This all sounds very depressing, and while the concept can get me down in the dumps, I’m not always upset about it. With resignation, there’s also this kind of relief. It’s like expectations have been lifted from me and now I can focus on just trying to be happy.
And just because I’m no longer the future, doesn’t mean I can’t contribute to it, right?
I know some people take this in a very literal sense, and they physically contribute to the future by having kids. This is a dubious decision for certain persons (won’t name names, but my god, haven’t you ever thought that certain people should never in the history of ever attempt to be parents), and I’ve seen my fair share of people who fall into the trap of having kids as a way to remain relevant to the future.
But I do not want to have a child. Have you guys heard of the goddamn changes women have to go through in order to have a baby?! I cringe when I watch a horror movie; no way am I actually gong to live through one.
So I sometimes wonder how I can contribute to the future as I grow older.
And funnily enough, it’s that living-in-the-moment bullcrap that has become my go-to answer.
I want to live in the now with the idea that anything I say or do can have a positive effect on a person, be it a kind word or a particularly moving blog post or a fun multiplayer match of Halo. I want to pepper my life with kindness to others in the hopes that I might be helping them through a tough time or something like that.
I feel like that’s what I can do with my life.
And yeah, as I grow older, I don’t just think about these moral obligations or philosophical musings like a dweeb. I think about dying like a normal person would, too.
But I think about dying the way I used to think about growing up.
It’s not real for me yet. Not really, not in a way that counts.
I know it’s going to happen, I just haven’t completely wrapped my brain around the concept of not existing. It’s easier to think about death this way because I don’t want to get uber fixated on it or anything. I just want to live life to the fullest, being happy and making other people happy, too. Small things.
And this all sounds so stupid and lame and corny and emotional, but it’s just what I was thinking about right now.
I promise I’ll go back to writing about fun video games next time. Today, I was just feeling kind of thoughtful.