How Age Opens You Up To An Unknown World
Last night as I sat and watched my son play at the playground by himself I had a revelation.
We as people go through a cycle.
You’ll never hear the words “I’m bored” come out of the mouth of a 5 year old. Their mind is always at work at what they can do next.
Whether it is getting into the cupboards to pull out all your pots and pans and make impromptu drums, going to see how many bugs they can find outside, or in the case of my son, making cars out of his hands and making them blow up and crash. I figured by the time kids hit age around 7 or 8 that’s when the phrase “I’m bored” starts to show up and it sticks around until they are in their 30’s. I don’t think I truly left the I’m bored stage until I hit my early 30’s.
You’ll notice you’ll never hear the words I’m bored ever uttered from someone in their mid 30’s and older. Even when we are sitting alone, in the middle of an empty room with nothing on, with a blank look on our face, we are not bored. We may be contemplating, thinking or even enjoying…wait for it… peace and quiet.
Sometimes we are just listening.
I listen to the leaves rustling outside, the birds, the church bells ring the hour. I just listen and I wonder. I wonder how I went 40 years so deaf to the world around me. I try to see how far I can hear.
Can I hear that tractor tilling the land over the hill? What can I hear that I’ve been missing this whole time?
In the winter when it seems the whole world has been white washed that is when you listen for silence and you can hear really far. Your ears become finely tuned instruments. That is the secret to the question my kids always ask me “How can you hear what I say from the other room?”
That’s because I tune my ears when you guys aren’t around.
For people without children they may be saying “You are one crazy nutball. See how far you can hear? Yeah right.”
However, anyone with children knows sometimes when the kids are all asleep or you get in the car by yourself you take that moment, turn off the tv or radio, just breath and soak in the silence.
It feels good to just hear….quiet. Away from the “He’s touching me!” “Give me that back!” “Stop touching my stuff!” “MOM, DAD!! I need to take a shower! And SHE used all the hot water!!! Take away her phone.” “WAAAA WAAAA BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BOO HOO BOO HOO BLAH”
I love my children greatly I really do but by the end of the day I wish I had a pair of earplugs. I told my spouse the other night that I plan on making a fort in the storage room where I can go hide. A nice one with a secret door and passageway. I can use all the clothes we still have to go through and the canned goods we have stashed away for the structure. Our camping lantern will be my light and viola! I will have a fort I can hide in. Bonus…no one goes in that room but our cat.
But back to being bored.
I believe that no one after 30 gets bored because we realized that we at most have 50 years left to live and we realize that we have a lot left to do. We have to whip our kids into shape, we have to get financially sound, somehow we have to get this house complete organized (I don’t want my in laws coming into my house after I die and saying “Oh my god, how could they have lived like this”) then we still have to do our daily stuff. At 30 that’s when our grandparents, aunts, uncle, parents and stuff start to drop like flies and we start to see the grim reaper peak around the corner. That reminds us that we have a lot more left to do in life.
Suddenly that list of things you were going to accomplish after you graduated highschool but you haven’t done one of them is becoming very important.
That’s when you realize it is time to stop and just listen to the world because you want to just take a moment to enjoy and revel in the moment you are in.
When I was newly married in my early 20’s with a newborn daughter, my grandparents came to visit. At that time they had been married for 40+ years (after onlu knowing eachother for only 2 weeks). They sat next to eachother holding hands, on my parents lawn just talking. I asked them,
“What are you guys doing out here? Why don’t you go inside and watch some TV?”
My grandmother answered “We’re talking.”
In my ignorance I responded ‘What could you possibly be talking about? You guys have been married for like forever.”
My grandmother than said very matter of factly, “Oh honey when you are in love and married as long as we have been you never run out of things to talk about.” I didn’t get it then. but I do now. I don’t think my spouse and I really had much to talk even in the first 10 years of our marriage. It was all about surviving being parents, adults, breadwinners, and husband and wife.
Around the 16 year mark it all suddenly came together. I find that we have better quality and more indepth conversations now than we ever have.
As you get older you realize that time is fleeting. When you are 16 time is massive and you feel like you have plenty of it. Life is expansive. However, as your bubble starts to collapse around you you realize every 5 minutes is 5 minutes less left in your life. At any moment those minutes will be gone and you’ll never get it back. So enjoy ever second of it now.
And that my friends is The Ugly Truth.
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