When you’re 15 you can’t wait to be an adult. To drive. Vote. Drink. Have sex. Take adventures. All the fun stuff. A few short years ago you were chasing make-believe boats along gutters in the rain, now you want to be grown up.

At 25 you feel caught in between. Sure, you’ve got all the stuff you wanted when you were 15, but somehow it’s not as great as you once thought. And it feels like no one takes you seriously yet. You long for those simpler days. Still, you’re young and invincible. And you’ve got your whole life ahead of you.
At 35 you are full-on in the machine of life. You’re married. You have a house. A career. Maybe you have a child. You’re comfortable. You see the 25-year-olds and it makes you feel old. What happened?
You blink. You’re 45. Holy shit. Ancient. Your joints hurt when you get out of bed. You wear glasses. You’re thinking about college for your kids. You have money, sure, but you’re starting to realize how much of your life and imagination you’ve sold to get it. Life is busy. You don’t have time to reminisce.
You blink again. You’re in your 50s. How can this be? You see your childhood heroes starting to die off. You realize that in a few years you’ll be completely wrinkled and gray. Or even dead. You realize how utterly short life is and, cliches be damned, you find yourself telling people in their 30s, “Life is short.” Because it is. You just didn’t realize how short until now.
We live on this planet for a millisecond. When we’re young we think it’s forever. Don’t rush it, kids. Enjoy every painful and beautiful moment. Because before you know it, it’s nearly over.
And then, it’s gone.
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Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.