In my youth, I believed that when I got to be a certain age, (such as the age I am now) I would have become “wise”.
That’s almost as silly as believing that babies have no personality until they reach some arbitrary number of months or years. Anyone who is a parent knows how fatuous that premise is.
Children and old people are alike individuals. Whether they have wisdom or not has nothing whatsoever to do with gender, skin color, age or how many gray hairs they have.
I’ve seen this from both ends of the spectrum; my mom, now 90, is very youthful and still quite wise. My daughter, when she was two or three, was wiser than I may ever hope to be.
We are who we are. When we are speaking of individuals, bodies are off-topic.
Age and appearance, however, can be hard to stare down.
In the mirror every morning I am re-introduced to this face I have been wearing for nearly 60 years now, and I have to tell you, it’s a strange feeling.
I always make a point of disagreeing with the ideas and opinions that flood in on myself (from me) concerning my own less-than-youthful external appearance.
However, it’s a neat trick to dispel opinions about oneself that seemingly come from oneself.
My wife would point out that I have been looking forward to being an old person since I was a kid. When I was a boy I had a strong affinity for older people and tried to talk and dress like them.
These days, I seek out fashions that skew younger, without requiring me to wear my waistband around my knees.
I think everyone must feel this way at times: a disconnection between how you appear and the real you inhabiting and animating your body.
We are told by external sources continually that if we a look a certain way, we must BE a certain way, think a certain way, act a certain way. Those are common, baseless lies.
(Can you tell I’m interested in the subject of identity? After years of doing impressions, I realized there was much to investigate about the subject.)
The primary mistake one can make concerning identity, and perhaps the most frequent and daunting of all challenges, is to believe that one’s own identity is determined by how one looks from on the outside.
That’s a mistake we make about others, too.
It takes imagination to succeed, and maybe that’s one of the most important uses of imagination–the establishment of one’s own point of view, irrespective of the universe around one.
As I look in the mirror at myself, or watch myself on TV, I like to think I’m diligent at recognizing that behind that face is the same chap that I’ve always been, and that my present, world-weary appearance is just another character in my vast collection.
Wish me luck. And good luck to YOU!