I can remember, even as a very young child, thinking that my parents were old. Really old. And they were giants. They could lift me off the floor with ease, stride across the room in moments and eat plates of food that were larger than my head.
And later, when I was in my early twenties, I realised that I was fast approaching the age when my parents became parents. This made me realise that my perception was far from reality – I had imagined the lives of my parents only from my child’s point of view. But now I had questions. Surely, my twenty-something parents felt the same urges and stresses that I did. Wasn’t the world as open to them as it was to me?
Now, with every year, I look at the world through different eyes. I see the mistakes of my youth for what they were. Stupid, sometimes. Reckless, occasionally. But where I could, I only made them once. I learned not just from my own mistakes, but from others that I knew or observed at close range.
And slowly experience crept up on me. I learned to be neither daunted nor exhilarated by the unknown. I found pleasure in the slow, unfolding of relationships. And I realised that generosity required more courage than I had ever thought necessary.
And while these are things that I “know”, I still wonder, each day – “who’s the old dude in the mirror”. And you know what? He answers to the name, “Mr Heaton” – and I always thought that was my dad.
Via Marta Kagan (the marketing genius).