We are starting to see the effects of aging. A few extra hairs are lost on our pillows and in the shower drain. We are seeing our fathers and mothers in the mirror. Those ‘migraines’ Mom had were not imaginary but are hereditary. Our annoying little siblings are starting businesses and watching their children take the role of ‘obnoxious youngest child.’
We are witnessing our neighbors struggle with bills, and we are struggling with bills ourselves. We are starting to ‘get it.’ We are relating with the adults in cartoons rather than the kid who wants to go to a late night party. Safety has a new meaning and we are no longer invincible.
The pain of the world is facing us head on. We have seen death and illness; for some of us, it is for the first time. We are starting to understand what the adults of our childhood were crying about. We are crying ourselves.
Not all of us are selfish or lazy or blaming our elders for our misfortunes. We are just coming of age. We realize our mortality with every one of Dad’s cardiology appointments. The deaths of those who didn’t survive past 18 seem younger and sadder.
We grew up between the access-everything-via touch-of-a-button and the encyclopedia-look-up days. We remember running around the neighborhood and being called to dinner by the shouts of our mothers. We remember online video games and Gameboys.
We see children developing in to who they are and we laugh remembering the children we were. We can still remember those days but those memories are slowly losing their closeness. Our feelings about what a child should or should not see are becoming solidified.
Getting older is not the issue, it’s the realization of what getting older means. Call it a quarter life crisis. Call it the curse of the millennials. Call it what you will but to us it is simply who we are and what we are experiencing right now.
However, it is easier for us to see that there is a future. As opposed to the sadness of growing up, we have more evidence of hope. The permanence of death strikes us and motivates us not to give up.
I pray that our suffering youth find that through the noise of media and illness. They will someday be where I am. I long to be able to use my millennial thoughts as encouragement to the next generation as those before me have done.