I’ve always felt I am too old. Some people start worrying about aging when they hit thirty. I started when I was nine. Actually eight years and 364 days to be precise. A few hours before my bedtime, it fully hit me that I would never, ever be eight again, and that there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. It was not my happiest birthday party.
I had another terrifying realization about a year thereafter, while driving with Sam and her family to Spokane for a soccer tournament. I made the connection that had somehow eluded me until that point in time: if I didn’t believe in an afterlife, it followed that I was going to be nonexistent someday. Consequently, I was very zen-like about our disappointing second place finish that weekend. (Sam’s always just mature for her age, no religious turmoil necessary, so by the end of our car ride home, we had decided that silver was a much prettier color anyway.)
I eventually came to uneasy terms with my mortality somewhere between sixth and seventh grade, though it made me even more panic-y about growing old. I went through a period of mourning when I was twelve due to the fact that I was now too old ever learn another language without an accent. (Why did I waste it reading the Animorph series when I could have been learning French verbs? Darn my lazy grade-school self.) I refused to get my driver’s license until I was over eighteenth partly due to my denial of the fact that I was aging. And finally, even if I hadn’t been snowed in alone in Pullman on my twenty first birthday with some alcoholic rats (it was sad, Aubrie), I would have still been unhappy about passing the last birthday that was still on a uphill trajectory. Now, at twenty-two, I’m over the hill.
I’m trying to get better at this. I know that getting older is much better than the alternative - I’m unbelievably lucky to live in a time and country where life expectancy is so high. I also know that twenty years from now, I’ll consider myself crazy for thinking myself old at twenty-two. I’m going to try to do better with just appreciating the age I’m at, and realizing that I’ll never be this young again (true at any age). It is one thing to not wish your life away, but I take it too far the other direction.