The Paradox of Age

Growing up in an average Kenyan home in the early 2000s had some exciting challenges: restrictions as to what to wear, what to watch on TV, when to sleep, what to eat, how to behave to avoid military-style canings etc. Sorry to digress, but it reminds me of a meme I saw a while back which said: “My mom only caned me twice; the rest were all instances of attempted murder.”

Being brought up in such an environment prompted us (millennials) to sort of prize and drool with unequaled anticipation of the ‘becoming of age’ stage. When we were young, adulthood was desirable because we presumed freedom from childhood restrictions would make us happy. I mean, so did the childhood version of us think; for who wouldn’t be euphoric when there’s no one to mind and monitor your eating preferences, sleeping tendencies or lack thereof as well as behavioral changes including rearing a long thumbnail (almost regarded as an abomination back in the days)?

Image source: Unsplash photos

Is it the case? Is the freedom to do these things all the way to make it worthwhile? The simple answer is no. The young ‘us’ visualized adulthood as a stage of never-ending bliss because of unlimited freedom. One thing we couldn’t grasp at the time, but now we understand without a taint of opaqueness, is Adulthood comes with tons of freedom and myriad responsibilities.

Now, look at us all grown up, yet there are moments in life when one craves the childhood experience, even if just for a day. When you are bombarded by never-ending emails at work, relationship pressures, and a trail of schoolwork, notes, and assignments, many of us would graciously accept teleporting to 20 years back in time. We would gladly surrender, saying: “I accept all the ‘grounding’ there is; only let me enjoy some peace of mind.” This phenomenon is what I call the paradox of age: When we were young, how badly we wished to become adults. But now that we are adults, how badly would we trade these ‘growing up perks’ for momentary childhood experiences?

But given all these, does that make ‘adulting’ a senseless scam? Far from it!! On the contrary, the daily buzzles, huddles, hassles, and nuzzles give us a clarified perspective regarding what adulthood is all about. Should we shrug up, sit back, and wish for easier times as they were when we were children? To this, the Wiseman Solomon responds with a resounding rebuke: Don’t always be asking, “Where are the good old days?”Wise folks don’t ask questions like that.

Adulting will always be hectic. I believe that by now, most of us have already made peace with this fact. Nevertheless, we can make it a little more bearable if and when we use our freedom responsibly and equally shoulder responsibilities ungrudgingly and cheerfully, for that is our lot as humans. If we can master resilience, that is, the art of bouncing back from traumatizing daily setbacks, by fostering an ecosystem of authentic relationships with people who not only encourage but also challenge us, perhaps our lives will become more livable, a little enviable and ultimately satiable during our brief stay on earth.

Perhaps, Richelle Goodrich summarised it best:

“We wait for the rains to cease, the clouds to part, and the sun to shine before saying life is good. Ironically, it is because we endure the storms that life seems so wonderfully bright at their passing.”

—Richelle Goodrich, Author.
Image source: Unsplash photos

Purpose to join me next week for the second episode as I discuss the theme: The Paradox of Ambition. Till then, cheers good people to a week and a lifetime of adulting responsibly.

7 thoughts on “The Paradox of Age

    1. And is there one who has the perfect compass of adultting? We are just wading in suppositions. Our personal experiences though are lessons that others can hang on as they wade

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