An End and an Beginning

Some years you just can’t wait to see end, and 2013 was one of them.

The lists of “Best” and “Worst” are all over the media, but I have little patience for them right now. On the other hand, I have been mulling over a personal issue, one that has concerned me for much of my life.

I remember often being told by adults as I became a teenager and college student, “Enjoy yourself, these are the best years of your life.” The sentiment usually provoked anxiety rather than joy “If these are the best years, what will the worst years be like?” For much of my childhood and young adulthood, I was a fish out of water.

Bored by the lessons in elementary school, I was often given ancient, discontinued textbooks to read once I had finished class assignments. I suppose they provided me with a broader education, if an outdated one. While my intellectual prowess was assured, socially I often felt like the ugly duckling, and the teasing culture in my family didn’t do much to provide support. Having good old Uncle Charlie compliment you that “Your acne looks a lot better today” added to the mix.

High school was somewhat more interesting, both intellectually and socially, and I attended a school far from home, taking a train, then a bus ride to get there and back each day, broadening my geographical horizons. “The City” twenty-five miles south, suddenly became a destination, and Uncle Charlie a gateway to museums, music, art and theater.

College and finding a career were another improvement, but the “best years of my life?” I hoped not.

And so it has continued. I have been happy to note each decade or so that I didn’t feel that those “best years” had yet occurred. Is it because my life has been so boring or depressing? No, just the opposite! My life has been full of joys, and challenges, and experiences, and wonderful family and friends. It’s just gotten better and better the longer I’ve lived, so I’ve never been willing to look back and freeze any set of years in amber and call them my “best”.

I think George Carlin (though it might originally have been Sean Morey)summed up my attitude much more effectively that I ever could:

I want to live my next life backwards:
You start out dead and get that out of the way.
Then you wake up in a nursing home
feeling better every day.
Then you get kicked out for being too healthy.
Enjoy your retirement and collect your pension.
Then when you start work,
you get a gold watch on your first day.

You work 40 years
until you’re too young to work.
You get ready for High School: drink alcohol, party, and you’re generally promiscuous.

Then you go to primary school,
you become a kid,
you play,
and you have no responsibilities.
Then you become a baby, and then…

You spend your last 9 months
floating peacefully in luxury, in spa-like conditions
– central heating, room service on tap,
and then…
You finish off as an orgasm.

Not sure how that will play out this time around, but I am optimistic, as always. Happy New Year!

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