ShutUp30.5: With Age, Comes Wisdom


Today’s prompt is to write about the same situation from the perspective of you at five, and you at fifty-something.

Moving at five: We are going on a big adventure, but nobody will let me help out. I want to put things in boxes, but I keep being shooed away. I bet we’re moving to a castle or something. I bet it has a cellar and an attic and secret passages. I’m going to find them all and I won’t be scared, or just a little maybe.
Moving at fifty-something: It all looks like so little, my life, boxed. It didn’t feel like a little as I packed it away. I weighed each object in moments, wincing slightly as I wrapped a fragile memory in newspaper, catching myself in a half-smile as I remembered – well, perhaps I’ll keep that to myself. Sometimes minutes would pass before I broke the surface in the present, recoiling as if I’d walked into a cobweb.

What I still have of the past is inside these boxes. It hurts me to think where it might belong, and in what configuration. These shards, rearranged, will never quite be what they were. They will ever quite be the me that packed them away. “Imagine, keeping all this junk!” That’s what they’ll say, when they wash up on a beach somewhere. But that won’t happen, I know. I’m just sending them in the post. Sending them to somewhere that they will help make into my home.

Things I learned today: when I was five, I thought in the present tense, but when I am nearly sixty I will think in the past. Or, that this is how my intermediate self imagines the world.


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