I’m on vacation this week, so I’ll post something I wrote in 2009. I’ve made a lot of friends since 2009, so many of you probably haven’t read this one.
I saw something in the newspaper that made me sad… well, I see a lot of things in the news that make me sad, but this one was different… because it was intended to be funny. And, well, it was, but sort of in a melancholy way.
What must Clark be feeling in this scene? He’s looking into the closet with a pensive look on his face, gazing at the symbol of his long-gone glory days, now wrinkled and probably ill-fitting. He’s thinking about whether to give it away, whether to let go of something that so completely defined him for many years but now just takes up space in the closet.
As I get older and I see the world around me getting younger, I wonder if I’m a bit like Clark here, thinking about my glory days that are gone now. Now I don’t have super powers, contrary to popular belief, but a lot of great times in my life have come and gone, and I’ve let a lot of opportunities pass me by with no way of ever getting them back. What do I do now? As I sit there staring at my cape, do I keep it as a reminder of what I once was, or do I give it to the Salvation Army to make room for something I’m actually going to wear? This is something I’ve struggled with a lot as I’ve gotten older. I don’t want to be the type of person who has so little to look forward to in the future that he has to spend all his time reminiscing about a past that is never coming back, but I know I can have those tendencies sometimes.
There is a third option, one which will avoid the necessity of making the decision that awaits Clark here: don’t hang up the cape in the first place.
My glory days don’t have to be over. I’m older now than I used to be, it’s necessary to live life differently, and my life is never going to be like that of movie or TV characters, or even like that of friends of mine whose lives have fallen more nearly into the stereotypical patterns. But none of that means that I’m through living. I don’t want to hang up my cape. I don’t want to live like my best days are behind me. Because they aren’t.
Don’t hang up your cape.