I suffered a crisis this October when I turned eighteen. I was no longer a “dancing queen” celebrated by the Abba song. I could no longer play any part in “Sixteen going on Seventeen.” And I could not think of a song that celebrated being eighteen. Or nineteen, for that matter. Or twenty-five, or thirty-six.
As I turned eighteen another worry was added to my list. I had officially passed Harry Potter. My three favorite protagonists in all of literature are forever immortalized as adolescents while I go about growing up and getting old. How am I to empathize with them in my aged state?
Then, I read something. Reading usually helps me solve the overblown issues I create for myself. I can’t remember where I read it. I think it might have been “Tuesdays with Morrie,” which is a book which I highly recommend. I read that as we age, our younger selves are still within us, kind of like Russian dolls. So, any time the situation calls for us to be five, or fifteen, or the seventeen-year-old dancing queen, we can simply bring that part of ourselves to the surface. Aging is only an advantage because we gain wiser selves to use.
So, the next time you find yourself rocking out to Abba in a yellow convertible, close your eyes and bring your seventeen-year-old self to the surface. Rock out and then, as you sink back to whatever age you are, be glad because you are a much more experienced self than that dancing queen. When you play with a three-year-old, remember what it was like to be three so you can properly empathize with your friend. And when you read Harry Potter, realize that his experiences are ageless, and so it doesn’t matter what age you bring to the surface.
Side note: P is skiing somewhere without internet service, so she will be unavailable until Saturday. There will be no quest this week 😦 But we’ve been planning a ton of awesome things to do once she gets back, so stay tuned!