Yes, I know that seems like a no-brainer, but it’s hit me in various ways the past month. It all started when I was digitizing home movies (a process I’m getting quite good at now, might I add). As a kid, all grownups are, by definition OLD. Not just sort of old. They’re old old. As in, different. And I think as you get older yourself, you still classify those grownups (in your head at least) as old. Your parents. Your uncles and aunts. Their friends. All of them are grownups–while you yourself are still youthful and chipper.
Well when you watch home videos of you when you were a baby, and you see all those OLD people–and they’re younger than you are now–something snaps inside you. Some small holdout of childhood whimpers and whines, “Ah man!” Because you have to face the facts: you are now OLD, too. My kids look at me the same way I looked at my parents. I’m a grownup, whether I want to be or not.
The next step to this is realizing that all these OLD people were once young, just as you were once young. Yes, I realize that it’s something we’ve all mentally acknowledged, but for some reason, it took the surrender of that last bastion of childhood for me to really comprehend that tidbit. That and articles like this one, which was written by my father and was published online today. (Great job on the article, by the way!) More than writing, the pictures also forced me to confront two facts: first, my father was once a child, and second, my Uncle Dave was once forced to wear a kilt (that explains so much, which makes me wonder why I hadn’t been told this fact earlier).
Each of us go through the same basic experiences: childhood, adolescence, school, college, dating–all that stuff. And while each of us has a unique spin on things on our turn on the merry-go-round, when you take a step back and look at it, it’s still the same merry-go-round. Things don’t change that much.
So what’s the next step in this process of realization is to figure out that even really old people played on that merry-go-round, too. George Washington, Isaac Newton, Shakespeare, Homer. Yes, the playground’s been remodeled quite a few times, but the circular motion remains.
And that’s about as far as I want to take that playground metaphor at this point, or else it’s going to start having a childhood and adolescent years, too.