Swapping Youth For Wisdom Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be -This Is Adulting At Its Best

Time is passing faster than ever before — I certainly feel this a lot more, heading into my mid-40s.

When you were younger, did time ever seem to stand still or progress at a snail’s pace? I’m sure everyone would agree that at one time or another, all you wanted to do was just hurry up and “grow up.” As a teenager, I felt constricted & chained to the hands of time. I would often fantasize about all the beautiful things I’d do, hoping and wishing for years to pass by, so I could experience all that life had to offer me.I think I was around about 15 when I spoke to my mum about this. I wanted to get my drivers licence and have the freedom for fun and great times with friends. But, just imagine what having a car can bring — setting up endless possibilities for mischief.

My mum, as patient as she was, then threw her wise words to me: “Don’t be in a hurry to grow up; stay young for as long as you can.“But mum, I’m sick of being young. I can’t do anything or go anywhere.” I say back to her in utter disbelief. How can she say that about my age?“When you are young, it seems like forever until you grow up. Then when you get older, the years fly by, and you don’t even notice it. That is until you see yourself in the mirror one day and realise just how many years have disappeared.” She said in disappointment.

Is this true about time?Suddenly, I felt sadness in my heart. Is that what happens to adults? Do you regret, fret about time and become discouraged when you believe it runs out? Mum left me with food for thought, even 25 years later as I recall this memory. Today, I sit here, waiting for my now elderly mum at the optometrist. I looked around and saw just how empty the shopping complex is. We are in the middle of the Covid outbreak; Face masks on with everyone keeping their distance. There is a sense of fear in the air. What happened to the year? It’s adulting.“People never grow up, they just learn how to act in public.”  ― Bryan White How right she was, so many years ago. Back then, she cared for me as I grew up, and the roles are reversed — now it’s my turn to be the carer.When a parent develops a terminal disease, memories seem to flood in during the most uncommon moments. Mum mentions things that I never heard before and triggers old memories that hadn’t surfaced in years. But this memory of her telling me to stay young for as long as possible saddened me. How did I, too, make the mistake of deciding back then that I wanted to join adulthood before even knowing what it was all about? Ageism comes with a price, and it’s higher than any teenager could imagine. We believed adulthood is a passage towards freedom in our youth when it’s more chains attached to our heartstrings. Most of these occur through guilt.When you are younger, limitations apply to everyone — but not you. It isn’t going to happen to you when you get older.Little do we realise it happens to us all. Adulthood Freedom is never what it’s cracked up to be, and It isn’t until we’re seeped up in the arena, the realisation of holding onto our youth just a little bit longer would have been a wiser choice.

Ageism isn’t always fun, and here’s why:

We have to make adult-type decisions, even though we aren’t ready to do “adulthood.” We have a growing number of responsibilities which we somehow accumulated without realising We feel compelled to do things we don’t want to, as a sense of duty to family, friends and acquaintances We no longer have the luxury of our parents having our back — now it’s our turn to look after them We usually don’t have a clue what we’re doing When we just want a cup of tea & chat with our parents or sibling, after a hard day, but they aren’t around anymore When you feel like this isn’t for you anymore — but you just keep going, trying to set an example for your children (even though you need a hug or a shoulder to shed a tear on).

At one stage, I’ve felt many things, and it seems that the list is constantly expanding when;

Family members pass over Become older, grey hair surfaces as do the wrinkles of our stories on our faceMany mistakes (primarily stupid ones) created eating up time and spaceLosing a business or job and starting from the bottom again. 

“I believe that everyone else my age is an adult whereas I am merely in disguise.”  ― Margaret Atwood

I can see my own 15-year-old daughters frustration with age. My exact words seem to flow from her regularly. Mum wise words are now passed onto my daughter — onto deaf ears, just as mine were. If only I knew what the wise, old wisdom my mum blessed me with meant back when I was a teenager — when I was in a hurry for freedom.There will always be a part of me that won’t give in to old age or allow the limitations of numbers to define my future. But, on the other hand, I don’t want to float about life. Adulthood is about doing different things, creating experiences and constantly on the pathway towards learning — Somehow, that’s made life pause a little bit.Napoleon Hill was right about ageing — we swap youth for wisdom. What wisdom did I realise? That time is a precious commodity — something we never get back and use up a lot doing idle things. The youth find it hard to conceptualise how finite time is. Adults wisdom to carefully cultivate the limited time available, and making the most of it, is one of the greatest gifts we’re given. That’s how I hold onto time — I embrace as many seconds as I can every single day. It’s precious. What are you going to do with your finite time left here? 

Leave a Reply