The Day on which I Refused to Ever Get Old

We were sitting around the table in a small and trendy apartment in a large and sometimes trendy city. Everybody at the table had the inside-track on something – that’s what it’s like when you live in this type of city. It means, the conversation sometimes turns to various and sundry of the individuals among us doing things like spouting clever one-liners, and noddingly observing longer meaningful thoughts.

I don’t mean any disrespect by saying that – it’s just the way it seems to be in a community hyped-up on individuality and personal experience. I do it, too – I can spout one-liners with the best of them. It’s like tweeting your way through a dinner with friends. It’s very 21st-century, because it’s like everybody is a blogger.

We all blog, because we can – even when there’s no computer to listen to our thoughts.

We all blurt our comments to the folks in the room, hitting “submit” or “send” before thinking sometimes. Every once in a way a one-liner comes out of a thread of comments which is worth preserving. And since the community’s human memory is not what it used to be, it’s necessary for someone to take that one-liner and go convert it into proper and eternal tweet, status, or blog. That’s the purpose of this post – to let you and all of your children’s children know about what happened back in the “real world” at a specific moment in time.

He said this:

Your forties are all about getting used to pain.

And then it was gone. Somebody made a brief follow-up comment but then we were onto new sub-threads in the conversation and even some new topics posted into the urban wine-soaked air.

I held onto it, because I didn’t believe it.

Later that night I sent that bit of thought out into the permanent world of the digital social network. I put it in quotes – because it wasn’t my thought – but I didn’t specify the author.

Immediately I saw that it was one of the more popular blurts into our digital world that night. It got a bunch of follow-up comments – mostly likely that would die down soon as people went to sleep and by morning it would be forgotten. Nothing I’ve written has ever gone viral, and I didn’t expect this to – but it was definitely a good community discussion point. People could relate to it.

The responses ranged from all-knowing confirmations that, yes, aches and pains started in your forties and just continued on from there, to snarky exclamations like “Oh shit” from a thirty-year-old. One person injected that the emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes – you know, I mean that the conventional wisdom on this was in fact wrong. Overall, the responses were not very surprising to me.So there it ¬†was in the larger community, in the digital world where it gets chewed over for a few moments before getting subsumed into the next day’s concerns. I often throw ideas like this out there in this way, to get a little perspective on them before moving on to a longer blog post (this one!).

Here’s the problem, for me: I don’t believe that your forties are all about getting used to pain. And it makes me sad that many people seem to think that’s what they are about.