I’m in the summer of my life. I find myself with plenty to consider. As I look back to the deeds I’ve done, to the dreams left unfulfilled, I feel some urgency. I haven’t carried out half of the stuff I thought I’d have accomplished by now. I have seen my road forks countless times in my past. I have followed so many dead ends. I have made more of my share of wrong choices. But here I am, and to my own surprise, a happy and content man.
Bringing up kids is like taking drugs or having too much to drink. They give you a headache but they fill your life with joy and fantasy. They also tend to make you forget a little about the present. Time sure flies with them around. I would’ve been on a different path in life hasn’t it been for them. One that could’ve been more exciting perhaps but nowhere near as gratifying. So I gave up some and took a lot in return. I’m not a free person anymore. I could never follow up on an instant urge, pack my stuff and just go in search of another campground, something I cherish no matter where I happen to be. Somehow, I don’t feel utterly disappointed with the missed chances, although they tend to get more stretched apart as the days go by.
I know that there will come one day when the kids have all grown up and gone. Would I be miserable then without them filling my life? Would I regret the unfulfilled dreams, the inaccessible roads, the uncharted lands? Could I soar in the infinite leeways of space and time once alone and untethered?
Twenty years ago, I didn’t know what I’d be doing today. I was a very happy young man then. Still, I wouldn’t trade my lot in life with all the treasures and adventures I’ve surely missed. I assume that as we grow older and our bodies get frailer, we tend to compensate for the shortcomings of our fate with something far more dazzling than mere words or thoughts: hope. And, this is exactly what kids give us, hope in the face of a nameless future. We all go through life knowing full well that there’s only death at the end. Yet, we persist despite our grief for those we loose along the way. We chisel happiness from the solid rock of an uncompromising veracity.
They’ll be alright… the kids I mean. We’ll manage somehow without them as well. If nature were to follow its normal course, we’ll reach our winter when their summer just begins.