Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you’ll always stay
Forever young, forever young
Forever Young, Bob Dylan
I was at a Christmas concert, tonight. Shocking, I know.
The concert was out at the Timberlodge at Shekinah Retreat Centre near Waldheim. This is one of my favourite places on the planet, so I always enjoy going there. The music was good. I met some old friends.
My overwhelming thought was how long I’ve been around on Planet Earth.
I talked with a couple of brothers from our previous church. The youngest (who should be about 13) is working construction. The older is finishing up university and was excited that Google – yes, that Google – had wined and dined him at their Waterloo offices which were, in his words, sick.
There were also a number of young women I knew from various places in the Mennonite world – camp, Rosthern Junior College, etc. While I know they were still in their late teens / early twenties, it seemed that they were going on thirty.
Another young woman I knew “back when” now has a three and a five year old. In my mind, she’s still sixteen.
How did this happen? How did I get so old?
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t feel old. Well, I should qualify that. There are days when my body feels old. Medieval. Ancient, even. My back hurts constantly, and some days that is the least of my problems.
Still, in my mind, I’m the same age I’ve always been. (To be fair, Sue is convinced that I stopped maturing somewhere around the age of sixteen.)
I think that’s the way it goes. Since I hit my early twenties, or so – when I became an “adult” – I have always felt this age. I do remember being other ages, but I’ve been this age for a long time.
I remember being a kid. Young. When you are young, you can’t wait to get old. So you can do things. You don’t know what, but you know it will be awesome.
Then you hit puberty. It’s hormones and zits. Finding your place in the world. Being horny for years on end. Excitement and rejection. Falling in love.
And then … adulthood? This is where my mind has stuck. I don’t see myself differently (well, in the mirror, yes) than I did in my twenties, thirties, or forties.
I wonder how this works? Internally. What chemical soup feeds this delusion? Because, obviously, I’ve changed. In some ways, for the worse. In some for the better.
When I look in the mirror, I am sometimes surprised by the old guy staring back at me. Where did you come from? I wonder. My back creaks. My knees crack. I can’t turn my head to the left. My hair is more Matlock than Magnum.
And yet my brain keeps telling me that I’m the same age I’ve always been. Well, after childhood and puberty. Obviously.
I’m sure there are studies about this phenomenon. Unless, and I just thought of this, maybe it’s just me. Wouldn’t that be something? If I was unique? What are the odds?
In spite of this reality vs perception, I am fine with thinking that I am as I’ve always been. I’m OK with thinking that I’m the same as I was.
Because … who knows how I’d react if I thought I was getting old?