Letters of Life

What It Means To Be Young

Youth Culture - Mods & Rockers 1960s - 1970s

Forever Young

The good thing about being old is that one can be both authentically young (having been 20, then 30, and then some), as well as rightfully behave like an old codger.

An ex- newspaper colleague said that working with young people makes her think she’s also still her mid-20s. Unless we talk in front of a mirror, one keeps forgetting one isn’t 25, but one remembers what 25 was like, and then the conversation is a triumph of mind over matter. If we were 25 once, we still are.

The best part is, being older makes you a great social chameleon. Throw me with a bunch of 30-somethings and again, no problem. Been there, done that. And so, doing things the second time around, with 30-somethings, turns back the clock, until that ache or sprain reminds you otherwise.

Age is just a number. A woman who turned 70 recently shocked me when she said that in her mind, she is still the 17-year-old girl she used to be. I met her when she was in her 50s, and the idea of a 17-year-old in an aged shell unnerves me. But then again, my young adult friends are probably shocked by my saying frivolous things. It was only last year that I discovered I got a kick out of saying I was indeed 25. They must have found it appalling. Who cares?

That’s the thing about being older in a sea of youth. You’ve learned not to care what people think, because it doesn’t really change things.

As time passes, age does become just a number. There will always be days of feeling older, of feeling the weariness, the fatigue that threatens to overwhelm. The elixir, for me, seems to be hanging around younger people.

Being pregnant with children made me understand what old age, with its backaches, not sleeping well, not being able to bend over the supermarket trolley to get the groceries out, not being able to run and hop and skip with a small child, felt like. I am thankful for the experience for it gave me nine months of empathy (times three).

My children remind me of my age daily. But in a nice way.

I decided long ago not to be an old codger. Not while I could get away with skinny jeans, neon t-shirts, and gladiator sandals and not look ridiculous. The day I look like mutton dressed as lamb, I will grab the chance to revamp my wardrobe.

I’m glad my circle of friends include a bunch of sporty, likeminded individuals finding their way through life. With them, I dress like I’m 30, and they don’t blink an eye. They just think I’m a fashionista.

Do you feel younger or older than you really are? Tell me! 

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2 Responses »

  1. When I was 23 and just out of college I decided not to get old. I’m still 23 inside. [Even though on the outside I look 37…]

  2. Hi M,

    Thanks for your thoughts here. Well, I certainly feel older than my age. I don’t really know why..

    I am with children and teens most of the time. Yet, the responsibility I have towards them, plus the issues I am grappling at the same time sure change my thought pattern. I don’t really enjoy what most of my peers are doing at their leisure.. And whatever little free time I have, I would prefer to spend them with me, myself & R.

    I feel like I am 35, Maybe?

    would you shed some light on my felt age?

    R

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