The Wisdom of Angst

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I feel myself beginning to continually reflect and become more emotionally consolidated lately. I may be screaming inside and want to shake some sense into those younger fools, those more naive and full of that ‘innocent stupidity’ in their life choices and aspirations that is both a danger to themselves, but also incredibly annoying to elders when it works out for them. I’m not looking forward to parenting more teenagers.

I was that type of annoying young man once, all full of himself, no qualifications, just a charming face and an improbable optimism that everything was going to be cool as long as he was nice to everyone. Worst still I had a penchant for tempting fate, like child’s finger hovering over a big red button, wondering what will happen when he presses it. Whenever I was in a foreign country I would have this sudden compulsion to not come home and just stay there to see what happened. Constantly shaking hands with the one-armed-bandit of life, now what? What comes next?

I have met enough stupid old men now to realize that wisdom is not something that automatically comes from aging alone. I’m beginning to think it comes from suffering sleepless nights as a parent, worrying over the past and anxious about the future. I think feeling old is more than just holding my unshaven, puffy face in my hands as I sit on the edge of the bed in my dressing gown. It is a sort of comical resignation to life and our inability to control it, or even find socks in the morning. I would like to buy some striped, cotton pajamas to add to this vision, and go back to bed with a cup of tea, some biscuits, and a good book.

If I ignore it, maybe time will stand still and the children will remain young forever, and I need not worry about letting them go.

© 2015, Lee A. Elliott

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