I have no age.
My driver’s license boasts a birthdate, but my life experience varies widely.
This discussion has little to do with what I see when I look in the mirror, but more about the age I feel in my heart. In the past two months, I’ve had experiences that have made me feel decades different. I got braces (making me feel like an adolescent), complete with shielding my smile and being aware of my jaw in novel ways. I’ve also fallen in the shower, (necessitating the purchase of a shower chair for safety!) making my balance feel less reliable and me feel far older than I am.
I have no age. Or at least, not a consistent one.
When I ask children how old I am it has ranged from 6 to 100. And I feel that gap in my heart too. I like to play and joke around and tell stories and be silly. I enjoy spending time with my little friends and entering their make-believe worlds. I wear costumes, including an inflatable T Rex for Halloween this year. I put flowers in my hair and like twirly skirts. One of my favorite hashtags is #DoctoralStudentPlayTime. I’ve been reminded of the importance of play as life has become more demanding with work and school and I have been up to the challenge. Because I am young-hearted.
And at the same time there is weightiness in my heart and an age in my thoughts. I dwell on philosophical queries throughout the day. I am intensely introspective and see beyond the surface of thoughts, actions, and words. I seek purpose in everything in life. I love words, wisdom, proverbs, and ideas and would much rather talk about real things, even when they are painful, than remain in surface pleasantries.
And even though these competing sides make me feel like I don’t fit in, I am so thankful for both sides. I am thankful that I can play and be goofy and cut loose and not take myself too seriously. And I am thankful that I can push deeper and take emotions, circumstances, relationships, and life seriously, recognizing the value and weight they each possess.
I feel like an anomaly. But I wouldn’t change it either. I want to be proud of my chronological age, and my ever-changing felt-age. I’m striving to own my peculiarities in this area and be proud of both my braces and my shower chair! I want to be proud of the knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained over the years, and also proud of the inner child that I’ve managed to let thrive. As I’m often reminded, life is about balance. Youth and maturity are both valuable, they each have their different strengths. How lucky we are to experience both.
Who wants to join me in dressing up followed by an in-depth discussion of Socrates’ writings?
Age does not depend upon years, but upon temperament and health.
Some men are born old, and some never grow up.