This week has been a reminder to me about 'the art of growing up'.
When you're fifteen, you have all sorts of ideas about how you'll be when you're a grown up. Where you'll live, what you'll 'do', who you'll spend your time with.
One key difference between being fifteen, and being in your thirties for me, is the looming feeling of mortality. Because, after all, everyone is going to die at some stage.
Fortunately my crippling fear of death has some positive side effects. I'd like to think it makes me live life the way I (mostly) do. That life which when someone says to me 'champagne or an early night?' I'll always go the way of champagne.
I can so vividly remember the time I first watched Dead Poet's Society, and the taste that John Keating's (played by Robin Williams) speech left with me.
"They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of
hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is
their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like
many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait
until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what
they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now
fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them
whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - -
Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your
Seize the day. Suck life dry. Live a life less ordinary.
It's most likely the only one we'll get.
So in the moments that work has ground me into the floor, or the times that I've had to reassemble the shattered remains of a broken heart, I try to tell myself a few things.
Even the hideous feelings, even the despair and all the sadness, help make you feel alive. The downs make the ups higher, hearts only break because they truly loved before, and failure only tastes so bitter because success is so sweet.
I hope that I'll never really 'grow up' in the way I used to think I would. I always want to laugh when I wear my clothing backwards to work, to sometimes stay up way too late, to have those moments when you think you might burst with wonder, amazement, and joy.
And that I'll keep choosing champagne.