Today I happened to be driving past the elementary school I attended back in the early 70’s. I saw a the tiny children walking about on the playground. That was me once.
Funny how the circle of life sneaks up on you. I recall my experiences in that school as if they were just yesterday. I remember specific incidents and locations in that school where things happened. I remember the classrooms and even the school layout. I remember the smell of crayons as you walk in the door. I don’t remember being that small though.
I remember standing at the fence with my adorable little fingers hanging on through the chain-link and wondering what it would be like to be in one of those cars. Now I’m on the other side.
I looked back at those kids and thought about how strange it was that yesterday I was them and today I am 48 with progressive lenses, three stents in my heart and chronic lower and upper back pain. Just the other day I was 5 and without a care in the world. Suddenly I’m a lonely old man with the majority of his life in the rear-view mirror living an empty, pointless life with little to look forward to other than eating vegetables, working for health insurance and hoping I don’t have a heart attack until I get the chance to move to Colorado.
Would little Max in Elementary School even have a clue what was ahead of him? Did he expect to be unhappy and alone for his entire life? I don’t think that was his plan but I also don’t think he would have been surprised if I stopped my car and walked over to that very fence and told him.
I seriously don’t think there would be anything he could do about it. First, he wouldn’t believe me. Nobody believes you when you tell them about their future. Human nature says you have to figure it out for yourself no matter what truth people tell you. Second, the values he set for his life wouldn’t allow it anyway. Max was always a logical guy. No matter what, his life was destined to turn out exactly as it did.
I think Ferris Bueller said it best. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around for a while, you could miss it.”
He was right.