Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm 18 Again

Okay, sorry for putting that damn George Burn's song in my head...  Your head, I mean...

But anyway, I must be getting old(er). Seeing all these young kids getting ready back to school (college) and after watching Piranhas 3D (and Steve McQueen's grandson is now all grown up?)... I'm really feeling it.  Every time I went past the university, I saw all these young kids... with their future so brightly ahead of them, full of promises and hopes and dreams (*cliches alert* alert *) I really do feel kind of old.

Of course, that's not a rare sentiment. Most of my friends are feeling that burn as well. It seems like it was yesterday when we were talking about our future while burning the midnight oil (what's with me and cliches today?) at college. And now they're talking about their children's college and early retirement. How did the time go so fast?   And there are a slew of  movies coming out with similar ideas: men or women going back to their youths or trying to hold on to whatever little they have left.

Now, I am not defying aging. I think I can grow into it very nicely, thank you very much, and  I kind of am looking forward to having a nice head of salt-and-pepper hair (as long as I don't lose it all before I hit 70, I'll be grateful)... you know, like how men such as George Clooney or Richard Gere or Sean Connery grew into it (not Richard Dreyfuss, though -- the man looked 70 when he was 55).

That also prompted me to wonder: would I want to be 18 again, knowing what I know now?

I think that would be really fun and I would definitely do it.  Bring me the potion, or time machine, or whatever. Why not?  Now, it's not like I hate my life and would like a do-over, but there were certainly a few things I'd like to change. First, I'm definitely going to hit the gym sooner than I did -- 24 was way too old to start this working out thing. :)  Second, I think I'll be more aggressive and sure of myself when it comes to the objects of my obsession... but I'm not that sure. I'm still a rather shy person, but I certainly have acquired a certain swagger over the year, and quite a bit of bravado after I have a few pints to drink. Still, asking someone out, especially one I feel is way out of my league, is a daunting thing. But remember, by then I would have looked like an Adonis (working out, you know), so I should feel like no one is out of my league.

I definitely would pay more attention to my passions and interests, and use what I've learned over the years to get ahead. I mean, seriously, with the stuff I can do now... I'd be a Wonder Boy at age 18; I'd be wiping the floor with Justin Bieber. Of course, back then there was no YouTube or Facebook or the Internet, so it would still be rather hard for a boy from Hong Kong to make it here.  Now, what if I was 18 again in 2010?

Nah, that would be misery. Kids are going through so much more crap now than I did. Back in my days (I really do sound like an old man now), things were actually simpler, believe it or not. I know -- people from the older generations ALWAYS say that, but it is true. When I was 18, things were simpler, easier, and people were nicer. There were no Internet, and thus there was no exposure to mean trolls or racists. I was very well sheltered. Even the mean people back then were less mean than the mean people now, and the world seemed a bit more in harmony. There were no reality TV for people to trash others. There were no news show for politicians to scream at one another. Or maybe age has tinted my memories, and I'm starting to see my past with rosy glasses (Hell, really, something is broken with my cliche-stopper).

In truth, I wouldn't trade my past with anything... it made me who I am now, for better or worse. If anything, I would love to have done some things differently, at least to lessen my degree of regret now, not to completely change my life. I could have done away with some of my insecurities. I would have cared less about what other people thought of me. I would have traveled more, seen the world. I would have enjoyed life a bit more without worrying about my future.

Because from where I am standing now, my "future" looked fantastic!

2 comments:

Janna Qualman said...

I would do one day, conditional that (like you said) I could take with me what I know now. I'd relive a day of my senior year, with more confidence, and worry less about what others thought of me. I think it'd be a great experience.

I think it's all about aging gracefully, you know? (And ditto on the salt-and-pepper locks.)

Ray Wong said...

I would probably do it for a year. But like I said, I probably wouldn't want to change my life, so no butterfly effects, please! But it would be a fun experience.