To be young again, sort of

Jane Reddington

Sounder Staff

Tuesday, May 24 2016

This past week I interviewed two young people, not yet in their 20s, with their whole lives before them. They are so fresh, still relying on their parents for so many things but stepping out into the world on their own, finding out what will make them happy and how to get where they want to go.

Somehow in the course of our 20s and 30s we move toward getting married, getting jobs and finding houses that will accommodate us. We take many jobs, make many different choices and build lives that are meaningful and then start to wonder how our parents made such a good job of raising us.

At 19, I was going to Carleton University, living in Ottawa, feeling very grown up, but so far from home that on a bad day I couldn’t get there for a hug or a cup of tea. I made lifelong friends and felt Ontario was my second home. At 19, I didn’t think about where I might work, I just wanted to try everything. The only thing I knew was that I loved writing. I had my heart broken and eventually moved back to BC, but part of me always longed to go back and live in Ontario.

In my 40s, I feel like I am 20 again, having completed a full revolution of this life - going from being a child to raising children; proud of having found my way. But we forget how long the journey is. From getting our driver’s licence to wanting to go out at 10:00 p.m. for some fun, to staying at our boyfriend’s mom’s house, to getting our degree and our first apartment and staying up all night because why wouldn’t we?

Now I am fascinated with good news stories of how people live past 100 and are still in good health. I want to know what to eat and what to do to prolong this life as much as possible. I want to meet more young people whose parents have supported their decisions to be actors, singers, writers and any other type of artist they choose to be. I want to meet more artists. More people willing to try something with no guarantee of commercial or worldly success because it feels like the right thing in their heart.

It takes courage to mould a life that means something to you. It also takes a fair amount of willingness to try and fail. But in the failure, perhaps that is the measure of success. That no matter how many times we fail, we are still willing to pick ourselves up, still believing that anything is possible because we have the time to try. 

If you still believe that in your 40s, as I do, then I think you just might live to be 100 years old, or come close trying. Joy is one of the main ingredients, and friends, and apparently having a close-knit family. These are all things we can work on throughout life, but never more so than when life is pulling you in a hundred different directions, raising children, keeping a relationship strong, working and still finding time for your dreams. This is when mettle is truly tested and perhaps the time you hold fast to what stars might rise in the future night sky.