It's a thought, passing, about age.
Several events occurred recently to make me feel incredibly old. Sometimes I have to sit back and actually add on my fingers and toes to figure out how old I am again. I'm old. Older than I was, not as old as I used to be, and finally acting my age.
What does that mean?
Well, for one, it means I've learned to take advice. I don't dismiss others casually unless they've proven themselves repeatedly to be idiots. Even then I tend to think on what was said and inspect it from different angles long after an encounter. I am not RIGHT. I can be correct, I can be unmistaken, veritable, and true. I can be right, but that isn't a state that I alone can claim. Often I need to consider and adjust my views, that is the essence of growth, of change, and of aging into something worthwhile.
I like to think. Once upon a time not long ago but certainly far away I used to think that thinking was a means unto itself. I was bright, I was intelligent, and that was all that I needed. Now I realize that like every other child out there I could plan beautifully inside my own head I had certainly not experienced the array of things a life can provide. I have made idiotic mistakes all the worse for my self-vaunted intelligence. Now I can recognize the trap for what it is, and I try not to fall into too often.
I've learned to care. I verged on sociopathic for a very long time, a coping mechanism I picked up when my family and I stayed overly long in a shelter for the battered and abused. It was a place where caring led to bleeding, and it was a habit hard to shake. It led me down paths, both romantic and non, that damaged me more than I care to admit...but I'm finally on my feet again.
I don't rebel simply because I can. Rebellion...it's something I never thought of as a major problem in my life because I did not do it in any of the traditional ways. I was the responsible one. The little adult. The trusty girl. My rebellion was subtle, insidious, and damaging. My rebellion was against those I thought were treating me as a child. Against people who wanted to share wisdom. I thought of myself as an elder, and I comported myself as such...so of course I had to be an elder, wise and knowing didn't I? I barred myself from considering anything offered to me in kindness as advice or suggestion because I didn't need it, and that made me bleed as well.
I learned that in the absence of true wisdom, in a void of adult understanding and consideration emotion grows. Usually turbulent emotion. Fear. Anger. Sadness. These emotions lead to isolation, paranoia, depression, obsession, rage, fearlessness, euphoric addiction, and many others. It leads to the highest and lowest points of a teenagers emotional fluxes, only refined and prolonged to insane and dangerous degrees. Without a support structure to help curb and restrain these once-dodged emotions, the emotions I 'skipped' when I skipped my teenage years, I would have crumbled. To a degree I did anyway and now I'm learning to pick up the pieces.
There is a reason suicide rates increase in the early twenties rather than decrease after the teenage years. Suicide rates, accident rates, burnout rates, death rates.
Growing up is grueling and I can understand why many people try to hide from the process.
Many don't do it. Or complete it.
Recently I've encountered many people that seem so incredibly, naively, young and yet their ages range from true children to those nearly double and triple my own actual age. They're frozen. Stuck. Uncomprehending that they're still children and still need to learn that they are not sufficient unto themselves.
Worse, and frustrating, is the fact that this kind of life experience cannot be learned from books. Words don't mean a damn thing as much as I adore them. The harshest part of realizing I'm an adult is seeing the children and being unable to help them avoid the harsh lessons of growing up. If I speak up, if I interfere with their paths, I'm lecturing. Or patronizing. I've slid into the role of adult and as such I can only watch the train wrecks around me as others try to grow up.
As for my own life now, train wrecks and all, I'm glad I live with adults. I'm glad I live with supportive people willing to deal my occasional lapse into childish mulishness. After all, no adult is perfect.
RANDOM EDIT: SEND ME PICS.: Of anything. I want pics. I'll do summat with them I'm sure.