What is this “old” of which you speak?

NaBloPoMo, in order to aid those of us trying to blog every day this month, sends a prompt by email every day.  To give us ideas for writing.

I love prompts.  Even when I don’t use them.  Well, sometimes I do – and sometimes I use them at a later date, sometimes they send me off on a tangent I can have fun with.

Today’s prompt was a good one:

Do you enjoy growing old or do you fight against it?

I’ve always been a little weird regarding age.  Most of my life, I found myself with a group of friends older than me.  I was always “the baby”.  Which drove me nuts much of the time.

So I’ve lied about my age since I was small.  Always adding years.  I wanted the respect that an older age brings.

I recall applying for the summer school job at an elementary school that I mentioned earlier this week.  The program was open to high school seniors, with a possibility for some juniors to take part.  That meant age 17, with some 16-yr-olds being accepted.  I actually bluffed my way into the program, passed the interview with the school principal with flying colours, then when she mentioned that only 16-17-yr-olds were in the program, I looked at her sheepishly and said that I was 15.  Long pause.  Then she said that she would give me a chance anyway.  I was ecstatic!  I thanked her, promised her she wouldn’t be sorry, then ran home and cheered when I walked in the door.  I was so proud!  Especially since in actual fact I was 13.  OK, almost 14.

Well, that’s fine, you say, when you’re young.  Up until drinking age, most kids lie about their age.  Except it never  changed for me.  I was really happy when I turned 21, that’s a cool age.  But when I was 22 the whole 20s scene got old.  I told folks I was 25.  Once I reached 25 I said I was “pushing 30”.  And so on.  Even in mid-late 50s the claim became “almost 60”.

I never understood the desire to claim to be a younger age.  Makes no sense to me.  Today I have friends of all ages, and in some groups I really enjoy my status as the “olde farte”.

On the other hand, most folks tell me I act much younger than my age.  I have no problem communicating with younger adults, or with teenagers.  One of my cousin’s kids made the remark that I seem much closer to him in age than close to his dad’s age.  Many of kidlet’s friends think I’m “cool”.  Many people are surprised when they learn my age.

So I don’t know.  On the one hand, when folks think I’m younger, I’m a little insulted – I still associate age with experience, knowledge, respect, and it’s like they’re depriving me of that.  On the other hand, I think that really they’re talking about my spirit.  I believe I have what is called a “young spirit”.  Maybe that should be called an “ageless spirit”?

As I’ve gotten older, my age has restricted me in some things, mostly physical.  The parts are getting older, but the spirit inside has not.  And that’s what is important to me.

So what exactly is this “old” business?  I like that the phrase is “growing old”, since we’re indeed always growing.  Because it’s when we stop growing, or learning, or discovering, we start dying.  Or, to quote the ever-popular anonymous:

We don’t stop laughing when we get old, we get old when we stop laughing.

Keep laughing, people.  😀

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