It starts off the same. It's starts off with excitement and enthusiasm and wide open horizons. A little optimism and naivety about things being different, or better. A swift pace toward a simple goal. There's no desire for a slow decline, that stumbling forward and paused caution, for quiet dispondency. And before we're aware of how it happened, we've stopped; out of breath, tired and worn out.
Getting older means reflection. Memories. Eventually you pass that half way point, where you have less life (on average, obviously any of us could die at any time) in front of you than behind you; and you inevitably wonder how useful, purposeful or important of it was. Not just that, but you analyze why you are who you are now, based on your fragmented memory (and in my case, as hazy a frosted window) of the life now long past.
I can't say that I feel any older on this specific day than other day. They all add up, compounding on one another. I feel more weathered. More beaten. More worn. Slower to rise, slower to respond, slower to recover. My gut is more padded, my hair more gray. While I feel more "grown up" somewhere inside me I feel able to be young. Somwhere in this accumulation of thirty eight years of life I'm finding the purpose with all my previous years.
Being older has its advantages. Driving. Staying up late. Watching Rated R movies. Alcohol (the libation created specifically for family gatherings). The ability to say "no". Sadly I believe I've let the disadvantages ruin the joy that still remains in life.
Every time when I draw close to the end of one year and embard on another, I marvel at the unexpected things that unfolded. Throw them all together into a full decade and I'm left wondering what the last 10 years have meant; and what the next 10 years will bring. It's both terrifying and wonderful.
Aging is inevitable. Maturing is not. Some people are older than their age, others sadly younger. As I near 40 I'm starting to realize that I've actually grown up, matured, without being old.
Our memories will always betray us. Our memories have no care for facts. We remember things not as they literally were, but for the epherma that surround the moment. The memories become stories that treasure, new pictures of the way we felt. Moments pass and we can't hold on to them, but memories endure.