Ageing is a real conundrum isn’t it ? Everyone seems to find it hard to accept that they have been alive for the number of years it’s been since they were born. I think it’s because we can’t possibly have any objective understanding of what age is or means. Of course it matters for some things – like the years you need to go to school, or the age you can drive a car or have a bank account, but it seems to me that once you pass those milestones it’s just a number.
I know that it bothers you. The numbers just keep getting bigger and heading towards the numbers you reserve in your mind for people who are really quite old and mature. And you worry that who you are won’t fit those ages. You think you might have to change in ways you don’t really want to.
You will change. You have spent your life this far changing, but it’s been more of an evolution than a series of marked amendments to the person you were before. I think you like who you are now and that’s great. I think you’ll like who you are in the future too. Just think of all the amazing things you have in your life now that you didn’t have when you were 20 or 30 or even 40 ( I know you don’t want people to know you’re even older than that, but really you should rejoice in the years you’ve had so far and not wish they didn’t exist).
It’s going to go on like that. You will learn new things, meet new people and still be you.
I know you worry about whether you are too old for some things, even now. Like tree climbing and skateboarding; dancing and handstands. Here’s the advice I’d pass on to you.
If you can still do it you’re not too old for it.
So if you can still climb up a tree and you’re out for a walk and you see the perfect climbing branches – then do it. If you are at a pool and you want to do a handstand into the water – then do it. Skateboarding is bound to end some day when you fall off and break something and yes, you will feel foolish but you will also know that you had the fantastic feeling you get when you have managed to control a turn and keep your balance and it will have been worth it.
I’ll write to you another time about hair dye, piercings, tattoos and how you dress, but in terms of the things you can do and want to do – Keep going.
Do the next sky dive ( only this time why don’t you go from 15,000 feet so that you have more free fall to enjoy? ), be a camp leader, dance with your kids at any and every opportunity you have, and never be afraid to initiate a water balloon fight or a moment of silliness.
Ageing will happen – you need neither initiate it nor resist it. Your job is to keep living well.
Until the next letter.