From a 70 Year Old Millennial
Sometimes I feel like an old man looking back at my life, as if I jumped ahead to 70 and can already feel the thoughts I’ll be thinking with greyed brows. A little glimmer of anxiety flickers in my chest, and a desire for something more grows out of thinking about how beautifully wicked this all is. The wicked nature of life’s fleeting quality, how it comes and goes. Every moment we live is the last of its kind.
I think about how young I am: 22 years old. Most of the time it gives me immense joy, but sometimes it puts me in an awfully solemn mood. I feel as if my knees are aching and unable to pick themselves up. I recall when I could run free, climb mountains, and dance at 4AM. As if I can't anymore. I feel it the most when I’m sitting idly on the couch, or I look out the window and the daylight has already fallen without me noticing.
It feels all terribly wasted, something. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s something. It’s the thing I feel when I’m with my friends, or out at night. I feel it when I’m hiking outdoors and find a view above the clouds. When I kiss someone. When someone holds me. When I hold onto them. When I board a plane with just a backpack. When I drive on open roads and the wind echoes the tune of a song I grew up with. When I dream, and dream, and dream.
All of these things we feel - the magic in every moment, the experience of every memory - I don’t want it to go to waste. They're like floating bubbles I want to reach out and grasp before they fly beyond our span, hold for just a moment, before they burst, pop, their profoundly perfect particles resting on eyes that waited just a moment too long.
When I feel 70 years old I think about what we’ll miss, and I think about what we’ll have wished we could miss. Parts of us left in a time, now, simply because we never pursued them.
When I think of the past 22 years I don’t have many regrets, if any at all. But the feeling of regret still hangs around idly. It’s this concept that I could have done more, we all can do more. We could have spoken a bit louder, loved a little more crazily, tried things daring and been so awfully brilliant and brazen to simply be ourselves. To be a little more authentic. To be a little more honest, less structured.
I don’t want to waste time, you know? I don’t want us to waste time. What we’re chasing might not exist: Life without wasted time. But I think it’s worth chasing, as fast as we can and without fear. Sure - the memories we have of our most joyful, authentic, fully lived moments are painted in golden hues. Life in the movies isn’t real life. The things we dream about aren’t honest in their representation.
But if we chase, if we try, we can get as close as we can. And to know that we chased, and that we tried, and that we got as close as we could, isn't that living? I think we’ll be happier at 70 years old. I think we’d be happiest now.
When I think about my life I often think about love. Love is the thing that means the most to me. I know it as the magic that molds moments into memories and experiences into lessons.
When I think about love I think about people. But not just lovers. I think about friends, about family. About the bond of conversation and the embrace of arms, how alive we feel when we’re seen by someone we can see ourselves. I think about place - culture, food, and traveling, about feeling fear and having it eradicated by joy, wonder, and discovery. Falling in love with everyone and everything that could possibly be loved. There’s no man or woman, gay or straight, right or wrong or perfect or imperfect. No lifelong home, single career, one thing, one way, or one system that makes sense. It’s just love. It's just life. It’s living life and loving to the extent that we don’t have time to think. We left the refrigerator door open and forgot our gloves on the train. We’re 22 years old, 30 years old, 50 or 70 years old, and it doesn’t matter. Because we’ve loved as much as the world could possibly contain, and are still trying to at every moment.
I think we should all just say “fuck it!” more. Fuck it. Love and live and listen. Listen to what the world is telling us - not them or that, but the goosebumps. The visceral energy that shakes us when we watch a film, or can't hold down laughter in the presence of our best friend. Listen to what we feel. We should follow the things that resonate love in every chord of our bodies, every major and minor moment of our lives.
Start writing that book. Travel alone to that destination. Talk to the stranger on the subway. Laugh out loud in public. Move somewhere new. Make music. Stay up all night. Look at how the rain dances water trails on the windowsill and scream at the top of your lungs: "It's beautiful!".
Tell that person you love them. Tell everyone you love them. Do what you're afraid of. Do what everyone else is afraid of. Challenge everything except what you feel inside, and believe with every bit of your being.
I just don’t us want to be 70 years old and think, “what if”? When the “if” could be “life”, and the question mark an exclamation point.