The up and down lists


My mother once remarked that the list of things she was never going to do, or do again, was growing fast, while the list of things she had just done for the first time was hardly growing at all. She mentioned that she last rode a bicycle in Holland on a spring day in 1969, not knowing that she would somehow never get onto one again. At the time, if told, it would’ve shocked her, and she would’ve thought that it portended an early death. Yet, now she was almost eighty, and it was a given that she’d never ride a bicycle again.

Feeling young, as illusory as it is, perhaps lies in keeping the first list short and making the second one longer. Until, of course, in the end, the first list fills up with an infinity of things we’ll never do, and the second one stops short with a final entry.




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