Today, someone posted that we are now exactly as far away from the year 2030, as we have come from the year 2000. Which, sure, intellectually, I knew on some level, but still, it sort of startled me.
I mean, I remember what I ate for dinner when I turned 30 in 2000, and how the wood smoke smelled raising from the chiminea that night. It doesn’t FEEL all that long ago at all. Certainly, my three kids went through middle, high school and college during that time. Two of them got married. I moved to four different states and I’ve cooked roughly 5,000 dinners since then, but still –it doesn’t seem like that long ago.
And with as much rapidity as those years went by, I’ll land in 2030 at the age of 60.
Somehow it seems that will be far too soon to be 60. And I have terrible feeling that as quickly as the past 15 years went, I’ll arrive in 2030, STILL never having seen Thailand from the back of an elephant, or having squirreled away enough money to buy a 200 acre ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley.
……crap on a cracker.
I guess it’s true what they say; life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
I was talking to a friend yesterday whose daughter is going through the cruelty that is middle school. I said something to the effect of…. it’s sort of sad isn’t it? We spend all of the preschool and the early elementary years teaching them to say please, and thank you, how to get along with others, the importance of kindness, how the world should work. Exposing their little malleable brains to Mr. Rodgers and Sesame Street, full of tidy endings where goodness prevails. Then we send them off to middle school, where people are cruel, goodness doesn’t always prevail, and no one comes along to set it right. All the magic of human kindness and justice that we so carefully nurtured, can be completely unraveled at the 6th grade volleyball team try-outs. It’s a hard fall.
The same is true with middle age I suppose. You begin your 20s full of earnest expectation that with hard work and diligence, you will have a beautiful big house on a hill, with an amazing view, and a very long tree lined driveway. But, 25 years later, and 25 years closer to retirement, you have to modify your dream driveway length down, inversely proportional to inflation and salary stagnation. And maybe you end up settling for the place with an ugly dropped ceiling and 80s fake brass light fixtures. Sigh.
The Mr. Rodgers myths we tell our little ones, where goodness always prevails, and the American dream myths we tell our emerging adults, where hard work and a college education are the sure fire key to financial clover fields and very long tree lined driveways, are just that, myths. Oh sure, we still have to do it, we can’t give up on the prevailing of goodness or hard work…but still there it is, the significant data that suggests neither is all that much of a sure thing.
The only sure things I have found in this life, so far, are family, love, and friendship. Love doesn’t get adjusted for inflation, or let you down when you’ve had a crappy day at volleyball tryouts. Though on occasion, love does forget to replace the empty toilet paper roll.