There is deep nostalgia in looking through photographs. Children are young, cute, and playful. Youth glows in our faces before wrinkles can map out our history, and growth. Smiles seem more authentic. Bodies seem more agile, and beautiful. There is hope. There are dreams. Youth is wild, and carefree. Everything glows in The Fountain of Youth.
Days creep into years and we’re suddenly bombarded with pressure to stay in shape, lose weight, hide our scars, iron out our wrinkles, and stain the silver in our hair bold colours. We age. Our children grow. A glimpse of historic time makes us yearn for youth, ours, and our children’s. We fear aging. We fear time. We resent growing old. Well, most of us do.
I have a long standing battle with time. As a child, I couldn’t wait to grow up and exert my independence on life. I wanted to mature. I wanted to experience all the wonders that adulthood promised. I didn’t care about the mundane things like taxes, rent, or bills. I knew they were parts of life, and I wanted the challenges. I wanted to grow. I wanted to change.
My career invites me into the lives of hundreds of children daily. I’ve had the honour of helping them grow academically, and emotionally. Every day, I hear parents cooing over their young children and wishing they could stop time and hold them little forever.
Honestly, that’s a philosophy that I was never able to subscribe to. I understand it, but I can’t believe in it. I see little children and I love their innocence in the world. I love their energy, and their passion for everything around them. I’m terrified of stifling their dreams, and their growth.
Every single day I watch children grow, and learn. Every single day, I’m excited to see the emotional growth, and global understanding they gain. I see the children in my life, and I look forward to celebrating their accomplishments, and learning who they will be in the future.
While I struggle with my own reflection, I’m grateful for each year that I have on this Earth. When I turned 40, my father asked me how it felt to be entering my 40’s. I asked him how it should feel. He told me that I should be grateful for every day that I was given since each day is a gift that I should use to its fullest. Considering that he had just survived a near death experience, and was still fighting for his life, his words went deep into my heart, and soul.
Do I love my hair changing from copper to platinum? Not really, but platinum is highly valued, so I’ll value my years, rather than resent them. Do I love the saggy areas that once stood at attention? Not really, but knowing that my body was able to grow, and nourish three incredible human beings makes me feel accomplished, and proud. Do I love the lines that highlight my hazel eyes? Okay, those I do because they are the history of every laugh, and every tear that I’ve shared. My hands show the wear of someone who is creative. My body shows the wear of someone who cares. My mind hold hands with memories that cause both tears of joy, and rub like barbed wire on my soul.
Through the years, I’ve said “good-bye” to many people. Some good-byes were final, while others were the result of parted ways. New people have sauntered in, and out of my life, creating roadmaps of dreams, and memories as I’ve grown.
When I look at today’s youth, I don’t want to rush their growth, but I do look forward to knowing who they will be in their futures. I look forward to changes, to growth, and to a future that is completely open, and unknown.