My very good friend and confidante from Manhattan left me a text the other day, wistfully remembering the days of our youth. The days of our youth that have now been spent. The days of our youth that we now chase in ways that sometimes embarrass us. Those were the days, after all. Time, if you believe Chrissie Hynde, is the avenger. When we were in our twenties, my friend opined, we did not know the danger that was waiting for us just outside the cozy confines of our college townhouse. All the beer games in the world didn't prepare us for what we would encounter once we finally embraced the reality of our surroundings. That was our thirties.
We grew up quick, and contrary to what Shel Silverstein might have you believe, we didn't grow up mean. We did, however, grow up quirky. There were some bends in the road that we hadn't fully anticipated and those were the ones that left a mark. We believed that we were indestructible, and for the most part we were.For a while. It was the decay that got us. Years of feigned ambivalence gave way to caring deeply about political causes. Suddenly we cared about who won and who lost. It mattered right down to the price of the beer that we no longer bought.
It made me think about relativity and that great scene in "Inherit The Wind" where Henry Drummond tells his old friend Matthew Brady, "All motion is relative. Perhaps it is you who have moved away--by standing still." We don't grow older in any perceptible way until we come face to face with our youth, or the remnants of it. Becoming a parent made me realize just how much of a tag-team affair this life really is. It took generations to realize a Broncos team that could win the Super Bowl. It took fathers and grandfathers to link us to the past that included manual transmissions and a love for them. We continue to learn by watching time drift by. It's only when we close our eyes that we feel it.
I know that I feel time now the way I used to feel distance. I miss the way things used to be like I used to pine for the places of my youth.
I haven't forgotten. I remember all the joy and pain and fear and laughter. It now comes in convenient bite-size morsels. And I savor every one.