“Nanna, what do you like about being old?” I asked her; sitting across from me in a faded arm chair, walking stick perched upright to maintain her posture. She laughed. I loved the way the corners of her eyes would crease when she smiled; glowing still at 80, wrinkles and all. You can tell that in her youth, she was beautiful. “Too many to name, my dear,” was the reply.
One of the most common things I come across in today’s living is the prospect of becoming older. I mean, it would be a miracle to be 18 forever. Sometimes I wish I was a vampire. Okay, well not actually a vampire (I think I’ve been watching too much Vampire Diaries). But I wish that I was something eternal, with eternal life; a life that I could choose to end whenever I pleased.
There are so many wondrous, beautiful, scary and dangerous things in this world and I want to see them all. I want to travel every inch of the globe and see and experience and live. There seems there isn’t enough time.
Getting older is scary when you’ve wasted a lot of time waiting in lines for clubs, watching Friends (or a show you’re obsessed with), making your bed or worrying about little things like taking the bin out, or cleaning the bathroom, or why that boy hasn’t texted you back. I wonder, if you could live for as long as you wanted – would you worry?
I have to ask, what would you do if you were eternal?
I know we would all break the law a lot more, take more risks, do more stupid things, perhaps kiss the wrong person one too many times. But on a serious note –
If I were eternal, I would learn every language there is. Spanish, German, French, Italian. You name it. Imagine being able to understand, speak and think every other language different to your own?
I would probably jump off more cliffs, or swim in more waterfalls.
I would raise millions of dollars only to donate it to causes (and perhaps just one or two more pairs of shoes…)
I would write many books, delving into the dark depths of my writer’s study, perhaps even invest in a quill and ink to do it like the ‘olden days’.
I would work in restaurants serving pretentious food or open a café and make it unique with funky tea cups and miniature pot plants. I would work in crummy crammed bars, in groovy derelict ones, in banks, in offices, in golf courses. I would be a flight attendant, or learn to fly a plane. I would be a professional dancer.
I would travel with bands and write music reviews and maybe learn to sing. I would master guitar and learn piano, nail “Piano Man” on harmonica and drum solos from Red Hot Chili Pepper songs. I would drink too much booze and maybe do some drugs on lonely Saturday nights that end up being not-so-lonely after all.
I would buy a kombi and see Australia, because what’s more awesome than the sights you see in a land you get to call home? I would go to the Kimberly and Eyres rock and see the desert before we have a chance to destroy it.
I would eat every flavour of ice-cream that exists, and try things like snails and grasshoppers (but not cockroaches, sorry, some things are just not meant to be consumed).
I would dance like an idiot (and sometimes I do) and not care what people think, because why should you?
I think I would laugh a lot more.
I would visit history museums and art galleries and pretend to understand all the meaning behind them.
I would travel to unknown places and nooks and crannies and eat a too much food and – Wait.
What’s to stop me?
If you imagine it being something you want to try, you may as well. Right? If it’s something you really want to do, do it! I guess what I’m saying is, you’re not eternal (thankyou captain obvious – I know). But that’s the thing – you’re not. So you have one chance to go out and do all the things on that list. Don’t be one of those people that say, ‘life is so short’. Life is the longest damn thing you ever get to do. Do it right.
And so I took another sip of my tea and looked up to catch my Nanna’s eye. “You know, Nanna, I think I’m going to love being old, too,” I smiled.