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I’d NEVER do (say) ________

October 13, 2011

Remember the saying “don’t trust anyone over 30?” I’m sure quite a few readers shake their heads, certain I’m some kind of loco ’cause, nope, they’ve never heard that. Others might be recollecting that phrase from some arcane piece written in the 1960s or 70s. For a whole bunch of us, those words were a core belief–at least until we hit 30!
I’ve had 38 years experience being 30 and from various lofty pinnacles of experience–notice how in each decade, looking back, previous incarnations of self feel so young, so naive, so innocent?– I’ve looked over my shoulder at a past self, amazed that she was able to survive the particular life events or decisions she made. I’ve sighed and flattened my lips together and moved my head emphatically from side to side, muttering, “If I’d only known then what I know now.” Yep, I swore I’d never say that when I was pre-thirty and I’ve said it at least once a year every year since then.
Maybe that’s why 30 is such a watershed. Suddenly a person has a whole decade of adulthood experience to look back upon and evaluate in light of the ideas and plans she had plotted out, age 20 or so, as her desired future.
My 20 year old self simply wanted to negotiate the rapids of a self-supporting life. She’d left home at 17 and was in the middle of putting herself through college–working almost full-time, carrying a full course load, having quite a bit of fun, and sleeping only when she couldn’t go any farther. After finishing college, her plans were amorphous–a career certainly, a spouse probably, the rest, who knew? Nor did it matter. Everything lay ahead of her. The future was many years (I come from a long-lived family and I thought being 70 was the same as being 20; you just did it for 50 years. Illness or physical deterioration never crossed my mind) of opportunity and she loved being alive, embraced it all–the natural world, animals, most people. She wanted to learn everything and thought maybe she could.
I still remember that enthusiasm and joy in simply being–being here, on this planet, being able to express that joy–and still get snatches of it now. Those snatches of joy and physical exuberance usually result in overdoing exercise, a walk, yard work, working with Violet on her agility training, and my being “stove up” as my Uncle Irving used to say, meaning moving about the next day became tricky and painful.
Never thought I’d say, “I don’t have the energy for that,” either. More will be revealed…..

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