The other day, I was going through the local drive thru to pick up a salad for my lunch and a song I hadn’t heard in many years was playing on the classic rock station in my truck. Fly to the Angels by the 80’s/90’s hair band, Slaughter. You know how when you hear a song, those old memories just flood back and it’s hard to get it out of your mind? I downloaded the song and let it play at a low volume on repeat while I worked the rest of the afternoon just letting the memories and the old feelings just wash over me.
I’m not particularly nostalgic and I’m not one to live in the past but I like to analyze how I felt then and sometimes the wrong turns or seemingly wrong turns I took. The one thing I felt was that I missed the freedom, that life felt like it held all possibilities, my wild self, the hope and endless dreams before life kicked the shit out of me. Before I had a mortgage, kids, responsibilities outside of myself when I lived for myself. Everything was in front of me, the tragedies of life hadn’t beat me down. I was envious of my young self. To feel anything is possible.
Then I thought about it for a while, what was really different? Yes I was tied down a bit more, not as easy to just pick up and move or run away with the circus but I really have more resources than I did then. Most anything is possible, though my age does preclude me from a few things but really only a few. My kids are grown for the most part, I am not really taking care of someone all the time so really I’m back at square one to a point. I’m not far from those days. I’m a quarter century older than when I first heard that song, twenty-five years wiser and I’ve raised my family already. Again I am almost as free as I was back then as I was living on my own, supporting myself just as I am now. I do have a few more responsibilities, but really not many more.
It dawned on me that I am in no different place than I was when that song first became popular other than I’ve lived a chunk of my life, raised my girls and been married three times. I’ve packed a lot of living in that quarter century but I still have all my life ahead of me, albeit a bit shorter but our life is always before us until there is no more life. Freedom, hope, dreams are all a mindset. As we grow older, we forget how to dream, we start being more cautious especially when we become parents. We start having more sense, we become grown ups, adults. Except in my heart I’m still this wild, adventurous and fearless kid. Then I realize, I can still be that wild, adventurous and fearless kid. But I don’t have to stop being who I am because I’m an adult.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in being spouses, partners, parents, employees, caretakers, friends and lovers that we forget to see that anything is possible, no matter how old you are. All the time I am reading Facebook articles reposted about senior citizens performing feats like gymnastics that we assume are impossible. If those “elderly’ people believed that they couldn’t do things because of their age, then they would never try. How many things do we not do because we tell ourselves we can’t, we shouldn’t, or we are too old, too fat, too poor, not good enough or whatever other else we can dream up to stop us from experiencing life to the fullest or chasing our dreams? I know I am very guilty of this.
I almost didn’t write this blog be because I thought people would think I’m stupid but I’ve only received positive feedback so far. Sometimes taking a risk feels like standing naked in front of a room full of people but this is also where you can find the best rewards. And sometimes the hardest failures. The only true failure though, is not trying at all.
It truly is all in your mind. Everyone is going to have limitations, obstacles and challenges. My opportunities and possibilities are endless just as they were twenty-five years ago. It’s all in my mindset. It’s all in how I choose to see the world. I may be a bit more jaded, hit by life but I can still dream just as I did when I was younger. And so what if I listen to this old song over and over, I’m using my headphones, dammit!