Children grow older, too…

I have a friend who has a nineteen year old cute Asian girl in love with him. He is 28. What, exactly, is one supposed to do? Fortunately, or unfortunately, he knows he simply cannot date this girl. He knows that it’s legal, that if two people like each other it should be fine, etc. But he also knows that she has no memory of the Cure, that she wasn’t alive when John Lennon was shot, that her earliest Presidential memory was Bush Sr., (whom I voted against.) The list of common experience begins when she is five and he is fourteen.

We keep getting older, and sometimes I feel like we just keep storing up more and more scar tissue. You are born as this perfect pink thing, and you run into the coffee table when you are six months old, you fall down the basement stairs at one and a half, you start taking and giving punches, suddenly cooking mistakes and STDs start building up and you find yourself having to deal with a shitload of, I guess, ailments or baggage or whatever. But it all feels like scar material, when I look at my friends. I feel like we are, many of us, stumbling out of the hospital ward with Kevin Costner begging them to let him keep his foot.

I should say that there was a celebration held in honor of several of my friends’ birthdays last night, and it was really fun and nice, but it has me thinking about aging. Melissa turned 28 and Clay turned turned 26. He was 25 the day before.

So, there are two responses to these ailments, this baggage. One decision is that the basement stairs and the coffee table are dangerous and should be feared. You remember when that thing hurt you and your sole concern is to not let that happen again. And this, to me, is getting old. Making wild, far-reaching assumptions based on your past experience.

I aspire to embrace the other option. I have not fallen down the basement stairs in 31 years, and I don’t fear stairs or basements (except that basements really are scary as hell, I don’t know why). It might be the making-stronger-if-it-don’t-kill-you mindset, but I think the more stuff you have to drag yourself through, the less you have to fear. And you get that from age, plain and simple. As I get older I get more scarred, less scared.

But the chasm between 19 and 28 is too wide to traverse. That is what you do to a chasm, right? You traverse it? Anyway, it isn’t that nine years is impossible to overcome, but those particular 9 years, you just learn too much. For me, those nine years included four colleges, three pseudo-retirements from the stage, a marriage and a divorce, a period of hating and fearing women, and the discovery of adult love. Not everyone packed their twenties with that much drama, but still my poor friend will have to pass on what has been described a thousand times online in both print and picture, and hold out for something real.