Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Growing Up

Growing Up

Fifteen years ago in high school, I remember looking at the middle school students and thinking, "I was never that young. They're getting younger."

Ten years ago in college, I watched the freshmen start their undergrad life and I thought to myself, "Those freshmen are young. No way I was that young when I started. They're getting younger."

Only recently is it beginning to dawn on me that they are a part of the work force and now the cycle repeats itself only with each new cycle, the cynicism gets worse as I get older. Because now we're on the same playing field. Before, I was the upper classman, my whole life still in front of me as I decided on what career to pursue. I was winning. I was in the lead. I was going to get to the finish line first. But now they have advanced to my level, they have crossed the finish line I crossed years ago and I'm still standing there at the end with nowhere to go. I'm at the finish line with the broken tape lying on the ground, but I'm not panting, I'm not sweating, I'm not even in shape anymore. I sneer from my La-Z-Boy recliner and watch them double over with exhaustion, smiling as someone hands them a cup of Gatorade.

Now, we are the same, we all finished, we are all workers eking out a living - except they're younger. It's funny, as a kid, I was winning by being older but now they caught me and they're crowding me... cramping my style... making me look old.

I finally realize that this group of kids I see enter where I once was, is the same group that has been chasing me all of my life, chasing me into old age. Did that generation before me have a bizarre recessive gene fusion accident that turned them out younger than I was at that age or have others noticed this about surrounding age groups?

In the seventh grade, I remember being intimidated by the 8th and 9th graders. You want my lunch money, here you go. You want to borrow my only pencil but never return it, go right ahead. I look at 8th and 9th graders now and I think, "I can take 'em."

That generation is always going to be right behind me and there's nothing I can do to shake them. They're always going to be there and remind me that I'm old and getting older.

To compound the problem, most of the celebrities are younger than I am. As a kid, I couldn't wait to grow up and be like them, but now, I passed it and they have millions and fame and good times and they're in their 20s! Sometimes younger! I know it's only going to get worse as I grow older and a new generation of celebrities and sports heroes take over and soon I won't only be older, I'll be twice their age.

I'm getting laughed at by the generation above me as they read this. They're thinking, "You think that's bad, wait till you're 40, 50, 60..." I do feel like the guy in the snowglobe staring into his own snowglobe.

You know the saying, 'the youth is wasted on the young.' I am appreciating it more and more as time marches me on.

Dag-blasted whippersnappers.