young and old…

“Everything old is new again.”

What on earth does that mean? That everyone who’s grown old is suddenly young because their old? That everything we’ve had for a long time is suddenly new because of it’s antiquity?

That doesn’t make sense. But then again, neither does the initial comment.

Mind you, I was talking to some ‘old’ people earlier today and they seemed to think they were not old at all, even though their ages, if put together, added up to 158. That’s right, 158. And if you were to meet these two ‘old’ people, you’d be taken aback. For neither of them appears to be anything like their age. Sixty, perhaps, or seventy, at a stretch. But an octogenarian? No way!

What makes us old? What makes us young? And who’s to say I’m middle-aged, when I really feel like I’m only young?

“You’re only as old as you feel.”

There’s another statement that can’t possibly be true. ‘Feeling’ young or old does not make you young or old. Just because you ‘feel’ 38 doesn’t mean you are. If you were born in 1969 and ‘feel’ 38 no matter what anyone says, no matter what argument you put forward, you are still 46. Nothing will change that. It’s a chronological fact.

But what does chronology have to do with the way you feel? Feeling young or old is dependent upon your life, the way you live it, your activity, mentally and physically, and the people, the loved ones, around you, that make you feel ‘good’ about yourself each and every day. Who cares about numbers? What really matters is your peace of mind, your self-respect and confidence, your very own happiness. Are you still able to play with your kids on the weekend, throw the football to your son, kick a goal up the park, and be cheered on by your loved ones? Do those you care for still provide the encouragement, the sensual love, that you need to forge on through life, a life made ever happier by their presence in it?

Just waking up to your wife or your husband, your boyfriend or girlfriend (oh, what the heck, your ‘significant other’) as the sun rises in the morning and the birds start to squawk, makes you feel better about who you are, makes you feel younger…makes you truly ‘feel.’

As you walk to work that day, you see a young girl across the road. She’s a slip of a thing and looks to you to be too young to be out of school. To you, she’s barely sixteen. If you had the gumption to cross the street, and, heaven forbid, ask her her age (or better still, the year she was born), you’d find she was actually, chronologically, twenty-one, and had a responsible job at the Telco down the street. You would suddenly feel older because you under-estimated her chronological age.

You keep on walking towards work and see a, well, to be brutally honest to yourself, a ‘geriatric’ with a walker. They’re crossing the street at the lights, but the process seems to go on forever, as he ever so slowly moves forward. The lights have been green now for some time, and there are numerous cars waiting to turn the corner, the very same corner at which the ‘old man’ is crossing over. He is holding up the traffic and with every extra car that arrives, the age of the ‘old man’ (for that is the term now firmly embedded in your mind) climbs. Are they eighty, no, they must be at least eighty-five, you tell yourself. But they’re so slow, there can be little doubt in your mind they’re at least ninety-five.

As the number, the age, climbs ever higher, the way you feel about yourself, your age, improves. In the short time it’s taken (for in fact it’s been only five minutes) your mind has traversed from thinking about yourself as middle-aged to thinking about yourself as young.

The younger you are, the older an ‘old person’ seems. The older you are, the younger a ‘young person’ appears.

Where do you fit on the scale of age and your perception of it?

Both youth, and old age, can be fleeting.

You’re only as old as you feel.

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