A college friend gave me a birthday card in my senior year at St. Mary’s College, inside was the quotation referenced above. Since I was a little older than the rest my classmates, the quote was rather ironic. I thought I was ancient at the ripe old age of 27.
Many years ago, I reached an important milestone, my (gulp…big gulp) fiftieth birthday. Turning 30 was no big deal, I had just had my second child and at 40, I was still having babies and too busy to notice, I felt like 19 anyway.
Well, 50, on the other hand, loomed before me like a dark ominous storm over the ocean. I don’t feel like 19 anymore, I can’t see as well, I have panic attacks, my hair is thinning on my head and thickening on my upper lip. It is graying as I write like one of those weird death scenes from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.
I dreaded 50. But I have to remind myself, “I will never be this young again.” When I am 65, I can look back at 50 like I look back at 27 now. Oh my, I was sooooo young then. There is a lot to be thankful for, I am not on any medication, perhaps I should be; I can still recognize each of my kids and remember their names and even their ages. I have some stamina left to keep up with them and with a smile to boot.
I still daydream when that romantic song comes on the radio. I cry when the “Marseilles” is sung in “Casablanca” or when I hear “Danny Boy” played in March and always when I hear “The Star Spangled Banner” before the few ballgames I watch. I still stop and watch when it looks likes an awesome sunset, I smell the daffodils and I try to hear what my kids are saying and to remember my parents’ stories.
I like what Victor Hugo wrote when he was over 80 years old, “Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart. I breathe at this hour the fragrance of the lilacs, the violets, and the roses as at twenty years. The nearer I approach the end, the plainer I hear around me the immortal symphonies of the worlds which invite me.” Although winter, I hope, is not yet on my head, just a lusty crop of fall, I do want to grow old in that manner, filled with the wonder of the experiences of youth, but in tune with the sounds of the hereafter. But for now, I will enjoy being as young as I am!