I am a young man with an older body. I am forever 21. I have never been married, and have no kids, so that allows me this luxury. Although it doesn’t always feel like a luxury. When I was younger, I never understood what older people meant when they talked about how quickly time passes. At that time in my life, it crawled. I was impatient to become…..I wasn’t sure what, and adulthood could wait. I had plenty of time. But your body can’t wait. It becomes an adult without your permission. It grows old without consulting you. As I grow older and suffer some of the physical and emotional consequences, it becomes even more important to remain young inside. I refuse to become resigned to my fate. You may as well shoot me if that ever happens. I can remember how I used to treat older people with a degree of disdain. What could that old codger know? He has probably lost most of his marbles anyway. I often forget how old I am, as when I am writing a fantasy about a relationship with a much younger woman. It is sad to write from the perspective of a 58 year old man, and even sadder when I am even older, I am sure. Because all the good stuff is in the past. It hurts to write about tender kisses that I felt thirty years ago. It reminds me that I have no one, except my cat, and I ain’t kissing him! I was still planning on what I wanted to do when I grew up, when suddenly I had not only grown up, but was past the point of being grown. I was beginning to wilt. Now I fully understand what my father said about his life lasting only for an instant. Now I am painfully aware of the passage of time, a week gone by in a second it seems, and soon it will be over. Not enough time, not nearly enough time, to live what I had wanted to live. All of the experiences I never had, and certainly never will.
A slow, mournful violin should be playing at this point. If not, you can at least imagine it. These are not an old man’s regrets, they are a young man’s regrets, who never had the opportunity to be a true adult. I never grew older inside, I stayed the young rebel, with his whole life ahead of him, and now I am paying the price. But I have no interest in dwelling on the past, like many older persons. I choose to be young in the present. I listen to the music younger people listen to, watch the films they watch, laugh at the same comics. I even talk as younger people talk. I want so much to be them. But I am not. I am much more than that. I can be them more fully than they, because I have 58 years of being young and can appreciate every nuance, every aspect of what it means to be young. They squander their youth, not realizing how precious a commodity it is. I would give anything to trade my body with theirs, and have that vitality, to be able to simply walk down a street without my body complaining. Maybe, if those who believe in reincarnation are correct, I will have the opportunity to do this thing again, and this time I will jump into life with a greater vigor, and seek out every experience in the little time I’m given. Or perhaps I would squander it yet another time. Such is the lesson learned by a young man in an older man’s body.