It was my birthday last Sunday. I turned 27. My family took me to a butterfly park that was an hour away, at my request. It’s a beautiful park, with enclosures for butterflies to zip around or leisurely glide. One ran into my pant leg, but for the most part they stayed away.
Over the past few years, my birthday has come at really stressful times during the month. I also am becoming aware of the lost time that comes from growing older, especially growing older in an era like this. Someone I know claims that they will be twenty-five forever, and I understand the sentiment now. It feels surreal to know there are college kids who were born after 1999, and to realize they know more about technology and life than I do. That is a good thing, mind; the next generation always needs to surpass the previous one.
We don’t want to grow older after a point. We want to believe we have more time to grow, to change, and to improve. Getting older reminds athletes that their bodies may give out any day on the tennis court, or in the ice rink. I know I would like more time, and not just the literal time that we spend going through the motions, like when we wash dishes or put laundry in the washer.
Caterpillars don’t seem to ponder this as they eat, crawl around, and avoid predators. When their times comes, they station themselves on a twig or leaf and grow a chrysalis. Silkworms are boiled so that their cocoons can be turned into silk. Other cocoons and chrysalises burst open, revealing butterflies and moths. At the butterfly park, we were warned that some butterflies may cling to us to escape, but they didn’t seem interested. Many flew above us, or deep into the leaves.
Despite my fears about getting older and time slipping away, I was able to not worry about that, walking through the butterfly gardens and counting all the little birds that flitted between the trees. It was nice to just stroll, and to study the passion flower that i’d like to grow. I pondered if we could grow silkworms. Then I squelched the idea because silkworms require mulberries and lots of care. But it was nice to ponder something new, of plans to make during the future that wouldn’t be disrupted.
Yes, I’m older than I wish to be. I’m also a little wiser, I hope, and will gain more awareness. I wish that I wasn’t getting older at such a time of national turmoil. But that can’t be helped. The caterpillar may choose where to take root, but not when. Sometimes caterpillars have bad timing. And sometimes people do as well. But we make do with what we have.