are we floating yet?

fishies go pook
Gouache on paper, 2002

The need not to look foolish is one of youth’s many burdens; as we get older we are exempted from more and more, and float upward in our heedlessness…. — John Updike

Exemption as the luxury of age.. another resonance of the glass that is half full.

When we were young and reckless, we used our youth as an excuse to do stupid things. Now our license (still to do stupid things) comes from the smugness of old age–it’s actually “mature” not to be bothered by propriety.

A friend recently wrote about the regrets of his youth: that of not sounding the school fire alarm for fun, of not going to prom night with the girl he liked, of not saying proper goodbyes.

Got me thinking that you can only regret something that you purposefully walk away from. Regret comes from knowing that you didn’t go for something, you backed down.

I once mouthed that my epitaph will read “She was brave.” Maybe that statement came out of realizing I didn’t want to live in regret.

Reminds me of that Calvin and Hobbes quote:

In the short term, it would make me happy to go play outside. In the long term, it would make me happier to do well at school and become successful. But in the very long term, I know which will make better memories.


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Wrote this on October 9, 2006–three years ago!–and yet my wish is the same: I want to be brave. 🙂