One of the more common signs you’re getting old is when your friends start having kids. More often than not, it’s casual friends or people you haven’t heard from in a while that have kids first. An old classmate here, a distant cousin there. But as you get older, your own personal friends start to get in on the baby-having. And when it comes to personal friends, few are nearer or dearer to me than Hawk and Marimar. They’ve been some of my favorite people for eight years now (I was Best Man at their wedding) and when they had twins earlier this year, it was a definite “Holy crap, we’re grown ups!” moment.
I was finally able to meet Diego and Amaya while in Manila a few weeks ago. Despite our personal closeness, we’re physically pretty far apart; I hadn’t seen Hawk and Mar since they’d moved to Vancouver, two years ago. It was by sheer dumb luck that they were in the Philippines the one week I was going to be there.
And as I spent time with Hawk, Mar, and their rugrats, I thought about how we were all starting to fall into the same roles that were filled by the generation before us. We were becoming the fathers and mothers and uncles and aunts to these kids that our own fathers and mothers and uncles and aunts were to us. Instead of sitting around the bar we were now sitting around the kitchen table, babies bouncing on shoulders.
We were grown ups. For realsies. And on top of that it reminded me that we are not, in fact, unique little snowflakes.
We’re an egocentric lot, we humans. Even though our rational mind knows that the world existed before us and will continue to exist after, we still on an intrinsic level feel the universe begins and ends with us. Everything that happened before was precursor and everything that happens after will be epilogue to … us.
So imagine how much wind it takes out of your sails to realize that you, in fact, are doing exactly what somebody else did, thirty years ago. Though you may be a relatively unique person in your own right, your life is following the basic pattern that has been followed a billion times before. And one day, those kids our friends are popping out will be in their thirties and popping out kids of their own, while we watch from the sidelines, as old as our parents are today.
We like to think ourselves special and unique—and in many ways we are—but at the end of the day, we’re just the most recent cast in a show that’s been playing since man fell out of the trees. We’re born, we grow up, we have kids, we become our parents, then our grandparents, then we die.
And the world spins madly on.