How The Hell Did I Get This Old?
If I ever get my hands on Father Time he’ll pay big time for schlepping me kicking and screaming into the so-called Golden Years.
Did you ever notice that life is like a roll of toilet paper? The closer you get to the end the faster it goes. So you’re asking yourself if I’m comparing life to toilet paper, which would be the obvious conclusion and yet you’d be wrong. Life is far more complex than paper and the ability to explain or analyze it as a phenomenon is for wiser minds than mine.
However that said, life isn’t without its moments of perplexing and insufferable crap, but I shall choose the high road and say that as one nears the end of the journey we are left with a conundrum…if we were given the chance for a do over, would we?
So as we face the goldest part of our golden years filled with wisdom, experience and a sheer and flagrant who-gives-a-damn-anymore attitude are we truly prepared to jump back on for another ride on the scariest merry go round of all, youth?
Of course most agree that another shot at life would be counterproductive if we couldn’t do the do over with the information we’ve garnered from this ride, so I’d probably wonder if it were worth making that journey without benefit of what I’ve learned and even a few lifeline calls to a friend along the way.
Not sure I’d want to go through natural childbirth again, but I hope next time around I’d opt for an epidural from their conception until they finish high school.
Ah, but would I, you see that’s the rub, because who’s to say one wouldn’t make even worse decisions than before and find an even more challenging life waiting as we begin again?
And of course what a journey it is and the trite and misguided belief that we’d do things differently given the chance doesn’t hold much water for the simple reason most of us never do when we are given the chance every day.
That’s the catch of course. We wake up each morning more wise and experienced than the day before, at least that’s the theory, and yet most of us cling to the same paradigms and behaviors that have created our lives.
Larry David one of the most gifted and out-there comic minds of my generation took on this topic on Seinfeld in the fifth season. Entitled The Opposite, Jerry proposes the theory to George Costanza, “If every instinct you have is wrong than the opposite would have to be right.”
In simplicity there is genius. Of course when he enacts this new mindset his life changes for the better and all is well for George.
Yet, although this seems like a great solution done in a comic forum, we actually are faced with this choice each day. In the end it can work to a degree, but the problem may be that just doing the opposite is not always an option.
Not every choice in life is black and white, up or down, yes or no. So many of the decisions we make are sideways and complex, requiring so much more than a simplistic way of thinking.
Doing the opposite doesn’t mean choosing one thing over another because it can also pertain to behavior choices.
If you walk down the street with your head down, perhaps you might try lifting it up, saying hello and smiling at passersby. I’m not certain that would change your life, but because someone may have needed your smile that day to make a life changing decision of their own it was a good decision. May even garner you a few positive karma points.
So in the end often what we do doesn’t just affect us alone.
If we have the chance for a do over every day of our lives how many actually embrace the opportunity? Since I can’t find any study done on the issue I’ll surmise not many.
Every experience in our lives is the opportunity for change and growth. A lesson learned either to be embraced or discarded and we make that choice constantly.
The answer to whether or not you’d live your life over isn’t yes or no, it’s have you been doing that already.
I’m a firm believer in instinct. That little feeling or whisper in the pit of your stomach that tells you when something isn’t kosher. Of course so many of us just tell the voice saying, “don’t do it,” to shut up and go blindly ahead only to regret our decision later.
What in the world would ever make us think that simply coming back into the world starting anew would be different, whether or not we had prior knowledge?
I’ve heard people say, “so and so has great instincts.” So begs the question did they actually hone them or were they some sort of cosmic gift to allow them to make better choices. Perhaps it’s a bit of both in the end, but I do believe that it’s never too late to change.
I as many others have made some pretty pretty bad choices in my life and of course we all pay a price. Very few of us escape unscathed from our own bad decisions yet too many continue to act on instincts that have proven unwise in the past.
I needn’t list them because I have neither the time nor enough memory in my computer, but we all have our own little box of bad choices to rummage through.
Since I’m actually so much older than I ever thought possible I’ve decided to use my situation for the best. From now on I’m opposite Norma and I shall indulge myself in a bit of an experiment. When faced with a choice I’ll simply ask what would I usually do and create an option quite out of character. Will it work? Who knows, because in the end I believe some choices are made for us somewhere in some cosmic storehouse that contains the road map for our life. Yes we have free will, or do we? That’s a question neither old Norma nor opposite Norma would even attempt to answer.
So because getting old allows for a what-the-hell attitude toward life, I’m game for most things now. Although there’s tons of new scary stuff out there in this crazy world I have to remind myself it’s no different for any generation.
We are all born into one world and wind up leaving another.
So have fun and try something new or choose not to, your choice.
Getting old has many benefits, not the least of which is not giving a damn what anyone says and doing exactly as you choose. We fear no one and we ain’t afraid of no ghosts.
Just don’t tell your children what you’re up to and have a ball.