No matter how old you are, life is terrifying for one reason or another. Here are some of mine.
When you’re young, you don’t know anything and that’s fine.
You get older and start to believe you know some things. But you look young so no one believes you know anything.
You get older some more and realise all those things you thought you knew–actually you have no idea about them. Or possibly they made the world more complicated while you were watching Red Dwarf.
At some point when you (again) don’t know anything you start to look old enough that people think you know things. They listen when you speak and assume you’re correct.
Then you’re in trouble.
I’m not putting numbers on the age when these things happen. When my sister looked old enough to know everything, she was six. For the average stranger, perhaps this happens around forty. Or twenty. Or sixty. Or a hundred.
I mention this because I’m getting to the age when people look at me and assume I know things. And it scares the squirrels out of me.
Trust me, I don’t know anything.
To make myself feel better, I’m going to look back at the other stages and remember what was so terrifying about them.
Stage 1: You know nothing
When you don’t know anything, the world is a terrifying place.
Adults get mad at you for no reason. All you did was take your shoes and socks off to play in the sand pit.
And that woman, is she your mother? You can’t tell. She looks a bit like your mother, but her hair is shorter than before she went into that shop with the red, white, and blue pole outside. Better ignore her and see if she recognises you. (I kid you not, it was confusing and borderline terrifying.)
So many adult knees, and occasionally you attach yourself to the wrong ones. Not only terrifying, also mortifying.
Come to think of it, I spent most of my childhood feeling horribly embarrassed.
The upside? You’re adorable.
Stage 2: You know things but no one believes it
Sure, you know things. You know calculus and all about black figure Greek vases.
But no one is going to pay you to use what you know.
Instead life will be a series of pointless tests.
Can you cook something edible for dinner without setting the kitchen on fire? Can you scrape together enough money to keep the power on? Where the fox is the bus stop and how will you know when to get off?
Can you stand up and talk in front of all these people without spontaneously combusting?
Does he like you the way you like him?
(Okay, that’s not a test. Still terrifying.)
Stage 3: You know nothing (again)
They’ve changed the concept of a phone, Facebook is what your parents use, and did you know that electrons aren’t really little balls orbiting the atom’s nucleus?
You have to travel internationally on your own, and they no longer send a friendly flight attendant to hold your hand.
You might face a nasty gutterbug called a mortgage, or deal with soulsuckers called lawyers.
Your cat will probably bite you. He will definitely draw blood.
Face it. Life is terrifying.
So, that made no sense. I blame the food poisoning.
What do you think? Does life get more or less terrifying as you go along?
Hear more from me. Some of it might make sense, but no guarantees.