Time Traveling (To The Present)
It's an oddity, this growing-old thing. When I was younger, the possibility of some day being old rarely ever crossed my mind. Old and dead were interchangeable expressions. Then, as I was steering towards half-old (or middle-aged), having outgrown the cub stage, I felt somewhat lucky to be able to look down upon the children running around me. I had hated the time, not long ago, being one of them myself. I couldn't wait to be middle-aged. Hah. And now, as I have been in the oven for a little longer than "al dente", I wonder where the off button is. I'm not as much growing older, as I'm rotting away. Brain cells lose their sizzle, memories begin to blur. Things that used to tickle my insides only touch me so-so. No energy for discourse, no time to be well-informed about pretty much anything that goes on in the world around me. And us oldies supposedly are the ones in charge, the generation laying the ground work for the next one to come. Shouldn't we better abdicate and relinquish the throne to childless people? I mean, apparently we have no time to be in charge of anything but ourselves. And it's a beautiful sentiment, and a magical time in my life: the time when my brain is on vacation. The time to be content, and mild and happy is clearly not the time to start an intellectual career!
Sad to say, "no time for other things but diapers" simply means we just can't care. It's a thing parents use to say while they're looking down their nose upon the striplings dancing around them with their underwear wrapped around their heads. What they mean to say is they simply have no brain parts to spare at the moment. Imagine two glass jars, one of them is on the floor, broken, with the content spilled all over the floor, while the other one is standing dangerously close to the edge of the table. The one standing at the edge represents politics, external interest, the outside world. The kid is a spilled jar. And if we don't do something immediately, the spill gets worse. It's mere damage control. There is nothing we can do about these priorities, except accept the task for the time being. Is my kid's health more important than equality, religion or whatever topic the world mulls over these days? Probably not. But it's the one that keeps me up at night. And tires me all day. So it's the one closest to my own life and in need of all of my attention.
Until some night, you know, someone in a strange uniform knocks at my door, informing me that there's a change in leadership, law, state religion or whatever. Then I'm really gonna look like an idiot. Because besides clean diapers and something to eat, what our kids really need is a place to live and thrive, a friendly environment. And that is what we all need above anything else.