“We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
— George Bernard Shaw
Right, well, here’s the thing: I worry if I don’t stop playing I’m going to wind up maimed or crippled or dead as a doornail. Something awful and very unpleasant is destined to happen if I don’t smarten up and behave like a grown-up. Even knowing that, knowing my fate is sealed otherwise, I don’t want to.
I don’t want to worry, I don’t want to be cautious, I don’t want to choose between adventure and sensible. What I want is for my body to keep pace with my mind, but it isn’t cooperating. It’s aging and I feel betrayed. I don’t bounce like I used to, I get hurt. Things break. Things bleed. Things swell and bruise and become lurid eyesores.
Shoot, I’m still dealing with aftereffects from the bike crash in July –three flipping months ago. These days, my neck locks up when I’m at the computer for any length of time. Seriously, I feel like the Tinman. My shoulder’s noisy. The scar from the chest tube incision is still sensitive and hideously vivid.
So, see? There are significant consequences to acting 12. There weren’t before. Or they were minor. What I need to do is talk myself into acting my age. Now seems opportune; the warmth of summer is gone, the days are growing shorter, and holing up for winter lies ahead. I could use the long, dreary months to track down my inner adult.
If I’m lucky I don’t even have one. Maybe it ran away or died from neglect or entered witness protection. Whatever, I hope it’s long gone. Sheesh, an adult — inner or outer — is about as off-putting as it gets. Stodgy and prudent are what I’ve avoided my whole life, practical, too. I don’t consider them good qualities. They’re a slippery slope to doddering, faint-hearted geezer .
And you know what? I’d rather sleep with the fishes. Heedless or die, I want that on my headstone.