Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash Vol. XXXIII: Trekkies vs. Trekkers, selfish terminally ill people vs. taco-flavored Doritos, staying young vs. getting old

I’m feeling insecure about my age. Could you throw some wisdom my way? – Lyla

You don’t specify your age, which is probably just as well. Since age-insecurity is nearly universal. When you’re young, the years can’t come fast enough. You need them to accumulate rapidly in order to bring you the spoils of adulthood – a driver’s license, beer, discretionary income. Then, after about the age of 30, you realize that the sand in the hourglass is only falling one way, and that eventually – sooner than you think — you’re going to run out of it.

On that chipper note, if it’s any consolation, I’ve met a lot of people in my life. And not a one of them hasn’t gotten older since I’ve met them.  Aging – it’s contagious. Everybody’s doing it. And since stopping time isn’t an option, the only alternative is to stop aging. Meaning the jig’s up. So rest easy in the liberation of knowing that you don’t have a choice.

A few months ago, I heard a radio interview with a terminally ill journalist. She’d once been a gold-plated action junkie and a swashbuckling war correspondent. Now, she was in a hospice, waiting for the inevitable. When asked if she spent a lot of time looking back, she said that no, she didn’t. When reading a book, no matter how great chapter two was, when you’re on chapter eight, you’re still more interested in what happens next than what you’ve already read. That’s the spirit, I think. If I had a fourth wish (see last question), I’d wish to keep that in mind at all times. Though third place would still be to bring back taco-flavored Doritos.  You have to keep priorities straight. Still, you don’t have to spend life looking back wistfully. Nostalgia can be the devil. Nor do you have to dread what comes next. Life’s pretty good about staying interesting and yielding unexpected pleasures. All that’s required is to keep turning pages.

Matt Labash is a senior writer with the Weekly Standard magazine. His book, “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys,” was published this spring by Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.