When we’re young, we dream about being old. We sit beneath trees and dream the days away. We dream about the future, about how much better it will be when we can drive, when we can get a job and spend money on whatever we want. We can’t wait until our parents are no longer around to say we can’t eat ice cream for dinner. We want to get out of our hometown. We want to look upon the whole world, mouth agape in ripe wonderment. But don’t worry, we say, one day our lives will be so much better. One day, we tell ourselves in the shade of that tree, we will have freedom.
When we’re old, we dream about being young. During our daily commute to work, we reminisce about the past. We look back on the days when we could afford to just dream the whole day away. As we idle in that traffic, our seatbelts slightly pinching our waist, we long for the days when our parents cooked us a hot, healthy meal every night. We miss when the cul-de-sac was the whole world, when the forest across the street was a dark, foreign land just begging to be explored. We want to look upon the world once again with mouth agape, filled with the raw wonderment of youth. What happened, we ask ourselves, our lives used to be so much simpler. What happened, we ponder in that hot car, we used to have so much freedom.
I wish that there were a time in our lives, maybe only a passing moment, when we are perfectly, fiercely content with the present; when we are looking neither backward nor forward nor inward; when we are just looking around.