I have this theory that age sinks in once we stop seeking challenges.
Hopping out of a new bed, climbing a tree, learning to read, taking off the training wheels, making it into the toilet, standing tall at a new school. These are only a few in a sea of challenges children face as they get older. They fall, sometimes cry, often giggle and try again. There is nothing quite like watching a child determined to succeed.
Waking up to an alarm, resisting peer pressure, learning to drive, body confidence, mental confidence, sex, laughing at mistakes, screwing up, uncelebrated effort. These are only a few in a sea of challenges young people face. They mess up, sometimes fail, often learn and try again. There is nothing quite as energizing as a new adult determined to succeed.
Getting a job, paying rent, staying healthy, maintaining a car, choosing friends, selecting a partner, having children or deciding not to, body confidence, mental confidence, finding purpose. These are only a few in a sea of challenges adults face. They hurt one another, sometimes lose it, often regret and try again. There is nothing quite as messy as an adult learning to succeed.
Challenges each and every step of the way until we get older. Until we arrive.
Some time after our children are grown, our pet children mature, we notice the salt and pepper in our friends’ hair or the wrinkles around our partner’s eyes, we decide it is time for a well-earned break. Life has been full of challenges and up our feet go.
That’s when it happens. Face to the sun, too much time and BAM!
The legs that used to tolerate skinned knees, a child on each hip, and all-night dancing suddenly have no purpose other than to rest. They get pissed and ache or break.
Legs don’t want to rest, they were made to move. After all, they’ve picked us up millions of times by this point.
The patience that endured heartbroken friends, tired toddlers, scary phone calls, moods and attitudes, and running out of change at the laundry mat is suddenly still. It grows cranky and thin. Nothing to navigate but the driving habits of others, errors in Starbucks orders, or the same talking heads that have been babbling our entire lives but we were so busy doing things we didn’t have time to care.
Patience doesn’t want petty crap, it wants big stuff. After all, it has saved us from a million arguments and countless tears by this point.
A well-deserved break is a bear in bunny’s fur. It stops the challenges of life and in doing so weakens our knees, mushes our brains, and makes us declare under huffed breath that we are, “old.”
If we spend every moment with things on our list, problems to solve and plans ahead, we have no idea how old we are or which limits apply. We are busy laughing, riding our bikes, playing in the rain, and trying again when the sun sets and we are called home.
But until then, there’s nothing quite as life-affirming as a person hitting the finish line at a full run.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Get Up!