So I was looking at a picture of Nathan Fillion taken back in 1995. He was cute– young, yes, and very cute. And I started thinking about what I was doing in 1995 and how young I’d been.
I came to the shocking realization that I’d lived my 20s like I was in my 70’s. Ouch!
Back in 1995, I was 21, mind you. I was young, a LOT thinner than I am now, and I had two little adorable daughters, a 2 year old and a newborn. I watched a lot of tv, read a lot of books, and dabbled in some fantasy writing. I had a Siamese cat, a Shetland Sheepdog, and a few finches. I crocheted. I rarely left the house. I never drank. I made pots of tea and collected bunny figurines.
In short, I was the most boring 21 year old chick on the planet.
When I hit 30, I had a total meltdown and tried to recapture my lost youth with a lot of “grownup fun”. That method doesn’t work, by the way– you never get the youth back, you just stagger through some exceptionally poor decisions while dressing in increasingly scanty clothing. Also, the consumption of alcoholic beverages and mind-altering substances does NOT make you more charming, funnier, or more interesting. It just leads to even MORE poor decisions, lots of vomiting, and the uncomfortable sensation that your liver is going to file divorce papers.
It took me about six years to drag myself out of this little midlife crisis and figure out that my youth was gone the way of the dodo . . . but that I didn’t need to add myself to the extinction list.
Since then, I’ve discovered the secret to being forever young. It’s absolutely the most difficult thing that you’ll ever have to do, especially if you’re an artsy and self-absorbed person like I am. I’ve never gotten a critique of my work that I’ve liked. But here goes . . . the secret to recapturing your youth . . . .
1. You’ve got to stop taking yourself seriously. Life’s a joke and the joke is YOU. No, you’re not too lofty to deal with the humdrum vagaries of existence. Live like a 2 year old– it’s ALL funny, it’s all mysterious, and it’s all amazing. Even if your taste in comedy doesn’t run to the gross-out stuff, there’s something to be said for laughing at anything. If nothing else, you’ll be more fun to be around.
2. You’ve got to do what you love. You don’t see children spending hours doing things they hate– unless an adult is forcing them to. Did you spend hours playing when you were a kid? Remember that? Man, you have to do it now. Maybe you won’t be playing with My Little Ponies anymore (if you’re a brony, I don’t need to know this), but you HAVE to do things that make you happy. If all that you’re doing is working, working, and suffering through stuff that you hate, youth will flee and you’ll be just another bitter grownup who can’t relax even on vacation.We have to work to eat, but we have to have fun too.
3. You’ve got to learn to stop trying to control stuff. Kids know that they’re not in control, although they suspect that they can influence things by various arcane means. Who didn’t step on a crack and expect to hear their mother’s spine shatter, at least once? But mostly kids know that grownups are the ones making the decisions and they just accept that. Except 2 year olds, but yeah. We grownups know we have to make the decisions, but then we get so wrapped up in making those decisions that we think “Hey, I’ve got to MAKE other people do what I want. NOW.” Just make the decisions that you can make for yourself and your family and let other people do what they want to do. (They’re going to do it anyway) If we allow them to act freely, we won’t be quite the tyrannical asshats that we sometimes want to be.
There you go. The arcane knowledge. I had to sacrifice nineteen goats and a pigeon for that stuff, so use it wisely.
Me, I’m going to go plan a birthday party for my baby, who is turning 3 this weekend. HE knows these secrets. And he’s hella fun to be around.