Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Stuck in the middle

May 5th is Children's Day in Korea. Parents' Day follows on the 8th shortly after. I "celebrated" Children's Day for longer than I should have since I had a younger brother. In Korea, children receive gifts on this happy day.

This year I realized that I can't celebrate either of those occasions. I'm not a kid, I'm not a mom. This suddenly hit me as strange.

In some ways, graduation too feels strange to me. Watching the current seniors go through all your typical senior events- 100/30 days countdown, senior gala, senior dinners- was it really a year ago that I lived those milestones myself? And the fact that others who graduated with me are wrapping up a third of law school, a quarter of med school, or (hopefully) a fifth of their PhD degree... it is bizarre- I did graduate but I haven't stepped aboard the "next step" train yet.

Have you read Hope for the Flowers? Maybe it is remotely relevant but writing this post has me thinking about these caterpillars:
Last week someone in our lab celebrated her birthday. I wished her a happy one and in turn, she asked me how old I was. "You are so young!", she noted. On the other hand, the kiddos couldn't subtract their age from mine ("I can't do those big numbers yet!").

Here's something surprising the Oldest told me: He told me that he can start driving at 16. I told him that's still a while from now. He shook his head and used his fingers to count up: "No, that's only 1...2....3... eight years from now." Think about that for a second. Does an eight-year-old really register how long eight years is?

Every moment you are the youngest you'll ever be, and the oldest you've ever been.