Friday, June 13, 2014

On the Dichotomy of Aging

The process of aging and feeling older (as opposed to actually getting older) has been on my mind a lot lately. This is at least in part because I feel like I haven't done anything groundbreakingly important with my life. Philosophically, though, this has lead me to realize a strange dichotomy.

When we're young, we often want to take it easy and have fun before we're forced to "grow up" and do responsible adult things, like work a regular job, get married, and raise spawn. Often, once we've gotten old enough, we may think, "I should have taken the time to have fun back then while I could. Maybe I wouldn't have high blood pressure and heart disease if I had." It seems to me that it's pretty frequently when we're in our older years that this thought arises, and usually about the time we spent through the middle. Perhaps we admit that we had fun when we were children, but that we should have done it again when we were of a middling age.

What if we had taken that time when we were in the middle years? Would life be vastly different? I have a sneaking suspicion that if I spent most of my time having fun right now, when I'm much older, I'll believe I haven't accomplished anything with my life, and complain to one and all that I still need to get shit done. I know this, because even in my middle years as I still play games on a daily basis and such, I feel like I haven't accomplished anything important with my life. It may feel more peaceful and relaxing at times, but I worry about how my older self will view my life.

The dichotomy, for me, is simply put as: We often think we should have relaxed more when we were younger, but if we relaxed when we're younger, we may believe we didn't achieve anything worth it and must still struggle to do so even as we're older.

One thing I do know that I've done is had a positive impact on many people's lives, from the people on the streets that I give leftover food to, to trying to make everyone around me laugh and keep up their spirits, even in harsh times. This is, in a way, one of my last refuges: At least I made the people around me happier, and rarely, if ever, at the expense of another person's feelings. That's important to me, because I was bullied a lot as a kid, and even as an adult by a psychopath ex.

Yeah. I think if I can make the people around me happy without hurting others, then I can, in the end, say I lived a life worth living, and I feel that's all anyone can hope for when the bell finally tolls.

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