I have come to realize that it is incorrect to assume that as you get older, you automatically get smarter about everything. Certainly, with experience you get smarter about most things. But I was smarter about a few important things at the age of twelve than I am now. At twelve, I could spend an entire afternoon immersed in the fantasies of my future: the wonderful adventures that were going to happen in my life. Now, I spend too many afternoons concentrating on silly minutia that really doesn’t matter, ranging from a squeak in my car to the bad service I received at a restaurant.
When I was twelve, the best dinner in the world cost a buck and a half, came from A&W, and was topped off by a root beer float. Now, I sometimes need to mentally slap myself when I find myself complaining that the radicchio in my $14 salad is wilting, or my wine has been decanted improperly.
When I was twelve, I could meet a new guy in the neighborhood, and within two hours, we would be playing baseball without a care in the world, both pleased with the fact that we had a new best friend. Too often, now I spend inordinate amounts of time analyzing the motivations of anyone who attempts to form a relationship with me, utilizing my Weasel radar, always harboring the unfortunately often-justified fear that their true motivation is to just get something from me.
When I was twelve, almost everything had the potential to be magical. Time moved slowly and allowed me to luxuriate in the moment. I was unburdened by possessions, and because I had met few Weasels, I was eternally optimistic.