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20 April 2012

It's Simple, Stupid

What do they say - youth is wasted on the young? From the standpoint of actually appreciating youth, maybe that's true of the young, but I don't think this applies when it comes to actually enjoying youth.

I was tucking my 9-year-old in the other night. The next day was Friday and he spent a minute telling me how wonderful the next day was going to be because he didn't have school and his friend was going to come over and they were going to download mods for a favorite game.

His dark room was the perfect canvas for what I saw in my mind as he spoke. I could only see the outline of him in the darkness, safe within his covers, but to my mind his eyes shined with the thrill of what would be. He could see the day like it was written in neon above him in the air. Fun was not just a concept to consider but a living creature of color floating above him, probably smelling of watermelon candy.

I think this will be a memory that sticks with me.

Such a vicarious joy that at the same time engendered a beautiful melancholy. Listening to him, I knew I would never be that excited to play with a friend or take a day off of work. I am an adult, and the complexities of my adult world are like weeds and thickets barring me from such simple pleasures.

My life is not joyless. Far from it. But a simple appreciation of friends and mods is like a ship that has already passed in the night. The ship was there once, a tangible vessel that could be seen and touched, but it disappeared over the horizon a long time ago. There isn't even a trail to follow if I wanted to reclaim what has fled.

But there with my son, it was like a window to my own past.

Which makes me question the veracity of the saying above. Youth is not wasted on the young, nor is it lost to the old.

Here's my effort at trying to coin a better phrase: the young bathe in youth; the old dry them off and sense the damp.

What do you think?