The stages of life are mixed up, aren’t they?
When I was young, very young, I was at the peak of imagination, creativity, and possibilities, or maybe that’s my perception now. I could believe I was a slim, beautiful princess — not something I can deceive myself about these days.
I had a book of fairy tales. I don’t recall any of them as the usual familiar stories. I do know they introduced me to the world of endless forests, boundless gardens, burbling streams, and the possibility of setting out on the quest for life and finding happiness that doesn’t require a mind-deadening day job — a concept I did not have at the time. All those possibilities and all that faith in one’s princess self, yet no independence, no money, no way to make a trip to the forest come true. So it became the vivid reality of a dream. I would give much to have the same feeling back as that book gave me. I think it is gone forever.
Adolescence and young adulthood — growing independence, diminishing self-confidence, and declining faith in the possibilities. At 21, I suddenly realised that my life was going to be no different and no better than anyone else’s. The dreams were dying or dead, and I could not afford to force them to become reality. It became easy — too easy — to slip into the drudgery of existence. And it has become impossible to break free of it. I wish I had known time would pass so slowly and so quickly. Perhaps I might have tried harder.
Now that I am middle-aged, I feel slightly more hopeful, at least for myself (not the world). I have a little more financial ability, enough to make some positive changes. But it’s so hard to break free from a well-nourished sense of hopelessness. Every day, I try to do something to improve how I feel. I do not always succeed.
I was thinking about retirement. I have seen some people in this stage of life who have had an element at least of their childhood freedom restored and who can take advantage of a life of prudence to enjoy everything that would have made youth worth living for.
The possibilities were always there. If only the perception had been as well.