“Ah, look at all that youthful energy you have – don’t worry, that won’t last forever.”
“You’ve still got enthusiasm! You haven’t had your soul sucked out of you quite yet, ha ha!
“Remember, you’ve got 40 more years of this!”
Woah. When did becoming an adult mean I was going to have my soul sucked out of me? Ah, right. Working full-time. All of these quotes are from my darling, older coworkers.
I have found that being one of the youngest people in the office and on my team has its perks – yes, I have the energy to dance in between cubicles, I have youthful creative ideas and jokes I throw around to spice things up, but man, am I a bit intimidated by these comments that are made laughingly to me – “Ah, well, after you have kids. Bye bye time and hobbies,” – Wait, what?!
I hate seeing my older coworkers falling into this trap. Sure, they have kids, they have other adult-y responsibilities, but why does this mean we have to lose our color? Our enthusiasm? Our spirit?
If you’re doing something for 20 years, I suppose it makes sense as to why you’d feel less motivated to make a change or to express a new idea/ business initiative, but at that point, shouldn’t you seek a different path? Something that ignites you rather than drives you into the ground?
Maybe I’m being too optimistic with the thought – I get people need to make money and staying where they are is sometimes just easier – so then how can we revive those middle aged spirits that have been beat down by years of working full-time?
You don’t know how many times I’ve been told by my older coworkers “Man, I wish I had that energy again like you do” – Why not! Let’s make it happen. What ignites the spirit of a 40 year old? A night away from the kids? Boxed wine? Their husband/wife making dinner for them? Me making dinner for them? What can we do, damn it!?
I think we try to paint this fancy picture of aging and in a lot of ways, the idea of freedom and individualization just seems like a far off fantasy.
We are groomed and bred for adulthood all throughout high school and college – as if it’s supposed to be some grand awakening into knowing ourselves and taking control of our lives. In a lot of ways, people still don’t know what the hell is going on and seem to stick with what they’re given instead of finding something that makes them feel alive. I’m all for trying to think of creative ways to liven up our usual daily grind, but this whole “do it while you’re young, because your life will be ‘over’ eventually” is a really shitty thing to think about.
I know I’ll “slow down” in the sense of aging, because that’s natural, but I don’t want my spirit to slow down. I’ve worked too hard to nurture it, to help it grow. I don’t want to just settle; I hope that my spirit will simply wisen in my older age – I want to be like a fine wine, one who becomes richer with every year that passes. Is that too much to ask for out of life?
To all you very “adultly” adults out there – to the people with kids, to the people in their 40s-50s, hell, to even those in their 30s – what excites you?
What makes you feel young again? What’s something you want to get back into that you did when you were younger? What’s something new you want to do? How can we get you there? Let’s kick start that fiery spirit again – let’s make positive changes – let’s find what we love again. Maybe we find it in our crazy kids, or our loving husbands, or maybe we find it simply in ourselves. And to those still in their 20s like me, how do we keep our spirit going? I may not be 40 yet, but I know what I want my life to look like when I am – I can’t predict how things will look in the future, but I hope to still carry my young spirit with me and I want you to do the same.
Let’s try not to be crushed under the weight of adult responsibility and our impending deaths that comes with age, alright?