I’m Younger Than That Now

Benjamin Disraeli characterized life from youth to middle to old age as a mistake, a struggle and a regret.  While this may seem to be a dismal view of God’s gift, it is true that young people make mistakes as they grow, the middle-aged struggle to maintain their responsibilities and the old wish they had done things differently.  I have come to live each category, and develop
thoughts on the subjects.  Perhaps, I am older but no wiser and have found that, in general, the wisdom of age appears greater from a distance.  Few years and full of trouble is an adequate (and biblical) descriptor of our days on the planet.  We can be thankful that the grace of God covers our iniquities and hope that the grace of others will extend to us.

Harry Bailey said that his son George was born older.  Over time, I’ve observed some exhibit traits beyond their years.  For many of the lot, it is because they are forced into responsibilities earlier than might have been.  It is often stated that the current crop remains in adolescence until mid to late twenties precisely because they are not forced to accept the mantle of life at an earlier age.  It is beyond doubt that we see an immaturity accepted today with smiles that would have been frowned upon in a former time.  This aside, certain have the cares of life thrust on them out of time and have to deal with realities that a perfect world would not have afforded them.  Thus, they are older than their years and experience gains and losses.

It can be that the serious approach to life is more a point of personality than anything else.  It is easier to view a quiet and measured person seriously than the one who always wants you to pull his finger.  And some people are thinkers.  Those who give themselves to contemplation may develop a seeming sadness that is more reflection than true grief.  This quality can be seen in the truly young (though rarely) giving them the plausible perception of age.  If heartache and suffering are experienced by those most vulnerable, they may become vindictive in their tender years, but is, also, possible that they develop understanding and care for others.  While we cannot escape the periods of our lives, we do not experience each of them equally.

For some, life comes at them too fast.  By this I mean that they skip through time periods like stones on the water and are never able to fulfill the promises of those days.  Poor choices can drive us along the road of life at unnecessary speed.  Well, unnecessary until our picks make them very necessary.  Those who live at such a pace outpace the normal progression of years seeming wizened before their days.  We can choose our actions, but we cannot choose our consequences.  None of us weather at the same rate, but it would be preferable to spend some time sheltered from the storms of life.  Many will not endure joy, fun or seasons in the sun because of their choices or the choices of others.

In our later years, we feel more prepared for life but don’t have as much life left.  A man in his nineties once said to me, “I know I’m old, but I don’t feel old.”  I’m beginning to understand.  It is important that we make the most (we can) of each phase of life to be satisfied in the end.  And unsatisfied we will surely be in any event though we might diminish the defeat.  We will rue lost, wasted or misspent time in days to come though we considered our actions appropriate in the day.  Each of us will see exactly how we should have occupied ourselves when the opportunity (though not the desire) for usefulness is gone.  I might redo or undo past events differently today, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.   






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