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“What Happens After You’re Old?”
Kid asks hard questions; Daddy’s unsatisfying answer is that you just get older
Kina turns five tomorrow, which means she is now, by her definition, officially old.
She knows I am already old, because I talk about it all the time, and she seldom misses an opportunity to remind me of it.
I am, of course, still relatively young as a human being, I tell myself. Kina is, by extension, comically not old.
I stand to get older still, though which seems linguistically unsatisfying to Kina.
I think she thinks that there should be another name for the phase of life that comes after being old (and that “older” isn’t it).
I think it’s unfair that there are so many words for young people: newborn, infant, toddler, kid, child, tween, teen, young adult.
By contrast, everything after collapses into: adult, middle-aged, old, elderly. I’m struggling here, because by Kina’s standards, it is all just “old”.
What happens after? Good question, kid. Would be nice to be a newborn again, I suppose—give it another go.
Do the infant thing, which I’m watching unfold on so many of my friends’ social media feeds. The clothes are great and everybody takes your picture all the time.
Toddle around, learn to run. Be a kid. Traverse the naïveté of childhood with no worrisome aches or pains.
Pay my dues as a tween and teen. Suck it up. Feel like an immortal young adult. Eternal.
Then I can be old again, find my weight. Raise a newborn to be a kid in her own right. Five years old.
Answer her question. Try again.