“For the first time in my life, I’ve stopped thinking of myself as a child imitating an adult.”
~ Ben Stiller in While We’re Young
I’ve only seen a clip from the new film but that sentiment so resonates within me. I get it. In my case, I like it. I don’t feel old, not as old as 52, but also for the first time I don’t feel like a kid trying to fake it as a grown up. I’ve arrived. I feel a sense of confidence, a sense of durability, an actualization.
Part of it is because of all I’ve handled in my life, the crises I’ve been dealt, the firestorms I’ve endured. If you don’t laugh you’ll cry until you cry anyway and then you learn to laugh again. You don’t think about tomorrow or what else might go wrong, you just do what you need to do to make it through today. You learn to trust God when he promises to give you the strength for that. And when the next bad thing comes you learn that another day will dawn and you’ll survive that, too. It’s kind of like Wolverine’s healing factor: you know you can still be hurt but unless it kills you, you won’t die.
And you start to realize that some inflictions don’t hurt as much as they once did, and not all the things are your responsibility to fix. You prioritize and deal with what you must, and you gather up the moments and relationships that enrich and nurture you because you know the days you have left are most likely fewer than those you’ve trod over. And it’s this realization and experience that allow you to put away childish things: the fears and doubts and urgencies that were part of youth.
Still young enough to live, but not childish enough to squander any of it. Time to take time, for Spring will turn to Fall, in just no time at all.
And I do apologize to those who feel they have some right to judge for the way they’ve been disappointed. Since you haven’t walked a week in my shoes, let alone shouldering the burdens I’ve carried, I don’t have time for that. I never blamed you for being too busy, or too self-absorbed or too blind, but you don’t get to excuse yourself from the debacle and then complain about the mess and my reticence, and that I lost my jolly in a despair you cannot begin to fathom. I never suspected you were so small. If you’re not part of my triumph, my joy and celebration, then you’re part of my past. And I’m okay with that because I’ve shed enough tears.
Onward! I’m one of the adults, with the scars to prove it. It’s so much better to be the real thing than an imitation!