I'm not twenty-four anymore. I'm not thirty-four, either, according to any sort of official "record" - not my birth certificate, or my passport, or anything that requires "DOB." But ninety percent of the time, I FEEL thirty-four. The vast majority of my days, I feel vibrant and fit and healthy and wiser than I was in my twenties. I need to lose weight, it's true. But even with several extra pounds, I still feel brimming with life and vitality most all the time.
So am I "old?" "Middle aged?" Is thirty the new fifteen and forty the new twenty and thus I am, relatively speaking, now old enough to reeeeeeeeally drink?
How do humans "age" exactly? Count of years? Depth of stress? Breadth of experiences?
Time. Is it real? Is it a human construct?
Matter is not real. Einstein and modern quantum physicists teach us matter is merely energy that sorta coagulates with our own expectations. The Bible teaches, "as ye THINK, so we BE" and I think (no pun intended) that means Einstein and quantum physics and Scripture are all in agreement: our thoughts create our reality - including the "stuff" we acquire that appears to be made of matter.
But for now I focus on time. If humans didn't make such a big deal out of time, would we age at all? No other animal counts time and self-ages. Birds just ARE; they just LIVE, until they don't. They're here and doing what birds do every single day - eat, drink, fly (dive, waddle, whatev . . .) and repeat every day until one day, they just stop. Birds don't store up food, or worry about yesterday or tomorrow, or complain about anything, ever. "AIGH! I'm such a horrible friend; I forgot wren's birthday last week!" "AIGH!!!! There are not enough bugs in the 401K nest! I'm gonna staaaaarve!" "AIGH!!! My wings hurt after forty years of flapping every day! I'm getting oooooooooold!"
No guilt, no worry, and no aging if you're a bird. Or any other animal, for that matter. Animals wake up and greet the new day with a contented matter-of-fastness I envy. No work left undone from last week or last year. No frantic scramble to put out "fires" today to avoid bigger "fires" tomorrow. Nothing but the pure bliss of, "hello, new day! I'm gonna sing and fly and find food and provide beauty to the world today." And with nary a thought of yesterday or tomorrow. Perfect.
Is it the frantic-ness of modern life that makes humans seem to "age?" Is it guilt? Is it some twisted but accepted collective norm where we've all somehow been duped into agreeing that living to 100 is "ancient" to the point of almost mythical? What would happen if we all decided that living to 200 is possible and our new norm? Would an entire planet of octogenarians start dancing and playing and laughing again like they were forty?
I look at images of folks who are all about the same age, say fiftyish, and it is incredible, the differences among them. Some look youthful; others look really old and worn out. Why?
And if I choose to live like I FEEL - like some vibrant thirtysomething - should I feel guilty? Am I immature? In denial? A person to be loathed or ridiculed by my chronological peers?
I'm not trying to be that pathetic person who still dresses like they're in high school even though they've been out for decades. I know my body and it NEVER looked good in a cheerleading outfit, which is one reason why I never tried out for cheerleader. That and the fact that I never felt confident enough or cool enough to be one of those iconic and elite "IT" girls; far easier and safer to never audition than to risk the pain of rejection by trying out and failing. So I stuck to music and horses and my traditional "uniform" is jeans and a button-down and boots. To this day.
I want to live each day like those I admire. The tortoise at the local zoo that is well over a hundred and fifty years old, yet he continues to live his happy turtle life without regret of yesterday or worry for tomorrow. Such TRUST in Divine Provision. The centenarian humans who still run races and ride horses and LIVE each day like THIS VERY DAY is a sacred gift that should be cherished and every single moment filled with something good and wonderful. Such JOY in the NOW.
Recently, a young equestrienne took a deadly fall off her horse in New Jersey. She left behind an infant daughter. No more time together. And a life time of never knowing.
I believe our experiences should define our life and our time. Were I a swearing woman, I'd say, "f*** you, calendar," and "f*** you, time."
God gave me today. And I am so deeply grateful, I want to live today in such a way as to bring beauty and joy and kindness into the life experience of everyone I meet.