Aging is an oscillating process of lightness and darkness. The true value of life does not come until you’ve lived long enough to transition into a dimmer state. With dwindling of radiant innocence, our lights naturally begin to dim.
I have these memories as a child, where I had this wholly conscious internal revelation that things weren’t always going to be okay, that I wasn’t always going to be happy.
I remember when the switch flipped, but instead of the light turning on, it was shut off, and darkness ensued. The world became dull, faded; things that were once shiny and new now seemed worn out and used.
I believe I was around 5 or 6 years old when I started becoming aware of the fact that life wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. I don’t remember many intricacies of my childhood, but I vividly remember the moment I actually thought to myself: “Why am I not as happy as I used to be?” I couldn’t even tell you what instigated that thought, but I also know that I’ve since been unable to return to that state of blissful naïveté.
When you’re young, everything glistens. The prospect of experiencing life’s vastness seems so much more beautiful, wholesome, and pure. Nothing and no one prompt any sort of perturbation – you believe you’re limitless, indestructible, invincible. When you don’t understand who or what can hurt you, or even how they can possibly hurt you, nothing is as menacing; life is infinitely bright. Without knowledge, there is no restraint, and without restraint, there is uninhibited bliss; you’re free to do and be as you please in an illuminated world.
I’d just like to go back to that unclouded state. Where obstacles weren’t hindrances, but opportunities. Where success wasn’t calculated by the amount of money you have in the bank. Where jobs were reflections of passion and not monetary gain. Where acquaintances were friends, and friends were best friends, and the worst thing someone could do was throw sand in your hair. Where heterosexual relationships didn’t induce such anxiety and tumultuous stomachaches, but rather provided a source of giddiness, playfulness, and disinhibition. Where pets didn’t pass away, but instead went on an extended “vacation.” Where the biggest risk of riding a two-wheeler was scraped knees, not a cracked skull from an MVA on the I-95. Where hearing about the twin towers collapsing triggered no sorrow because you didn’t quite understand the depth of the tragedy. I’d just like to go back, for one more day, to that lighthearted innocence. Where no one and nothing could touch you, where you could stay pristine and unsullied forever.
For a brief moment, when that switch flips, it’s as though time stops to dichotomize a person’s life into two parts: the unenlightened vs. the enlightened periods; only God enjoyed irony, and chose to entrust light to the unenlightened, and darkness to the enlightened. Perhaps this was an attempt to even the playing field. To appoint sadness, apprehension, anguish, yearning, heartache, pain, suffering only to the ones who were ready to see the truth. To assign these fundamental emotions only to those ready to see and feel life as it truly is instead of what it could be.
If you take a moment, you may come to understand that more often than not, the most sullen of our kind are the analytical intellects, while the most joyous are the ignorant settlers; the more you chase knowledge, the dimmer the room becomes until eventually, the circuit is broken and the room is black.