Thursday, July 31, 2008

On age...

My brother and I lived in a world of science fiction when we were young, as did many boys and girls growing up at the dawn of the Space Age... many adults also. There was a lot of conjecture about how our lives would change as we explored the galaxy. About how we would be living, etc. Where we might be living.

Everything on television and in books seemed to be set in 1999 or 2000. One of my first books was called One Day You Will Go to The Moon. It illustrated how life in space might look. I recall sitting with my brother in our bedroom in a space capsule made of blankets and chairs and discussing how old we would be in 2000 (a year come and gone without the promised journey to space). The idea that we would end up 39 and 40 seemed as much science fiction as anything we saw on Star Trek or Lost In space.

Later in my 20s, after reality showed us that we would probably not be living in zero-gravity at any point in our lifetimes, the idea of being 40 was no less unreal. Still though the imagination running wild we spent a lot of time thinking about how we might be living by the year 2000 and beyond. Some dreams were still more unrealistic than others.

So the year 2000 came and went. 40 came and went. No space walks, but some interesting journeys nonetheless. Some in real space and some in inner space. The basic framework of the question never changed though... Where will I be when...? Where do I want to be?

I find myself now not lamenting age and mourning things I haven't achieved because ostensibly there is still plenty of time. It can't be denied though that time is more limited whereas at 10 it seemed limitless. Decisions in the mid-40s carry a lot more weight than they did in mid-20s. With a long marriage and a divorce behind me, and 20 years in more or less the same industry it does become a question of separating realistic goals from science fiction... and that's what I think about when I consider nearing 50 years old. And I do think about it an awful lot. Perhaps too much? I can't say that it's too much.

In any event, I thought it best that if I'm going to explore some of these ideas in a public forum that I qualify that I'm not sitting here fretting and counting white hairs... which seem to be multiplying in quantum leaps... warp speed if you will.

Life, the final frontier... these are the voyages of the... So that's what I'm up to really. Just working things out and making decisions. Cruising speed, Mr. Scott.

3 comments:

Bina Shah said...

I'm not near fifty yet, but turning 36 in early July and then a few days later hearing about my nephew being diagnosed with childhood leukemia (he's 3) gave me a sense of urgency like never before. It's just too easy to take for granted the idea that we have many years left stretching in front of us. They always say "enjoy the moment" but I find it bittersweet when held alongside the fleeting, intermittent awareness that we only have a limited number of those moments on this earth. We're told we'll go to something different and better when we die, but that's not always a comforting thought...

Amy said...

OMG! We had that book, too! I think my mom got it for the kindergarten classes she taught before I was born. It made such an impression and me and my brother. I'm still waiting for the personal jet packs--it would sure beat the subway!

Amy said...

Oh, and as Aimee Mann says in her latest, "I thought my life would be different somehow / I thought my life would be better by now/ but it's not and I don't know where to turn." I hear that.