What age are you? No, I am not asking how old you are. I am asking, what is your internal age? What age are you in your head when you think of yourself? The forty-two year old character in The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland claims, “It’s usually thirty to thirty-four. Nobody is forty in their head. When it comes to your internal age, chin wattles and relentless liver spots mean nothing.”
I am not asking how old you look when you look in the mirror. Forget about that lying visage. The lights are too bright and the images too sharp. Think darker. Think smokier. Think inside your head.
Twenty-two. That’s the age at which I live in my head. I think that there is a Sinatra song about it. “When I was twenty-two / it was a very good year.” Unfortunately any reference to Frank Sinatra is not a positive age reference. It certainly dates me.
When I think about myself, I first notice my hair. It is forever dark brown and bountiful. It flops across my forehead like an early Beatles haircut. (Another dated reference.) And it is with that hair that at age twenty-two I was in my prime. I had just finished my first year of law school and my grades were good. I was going to make it in the lawyer world.
And I was about to get married. I was crazy in love and looking forward to many years of marital bliss. Life was great. You can see it in the wedding pictures. Just notice my hair! At age twenty-two my life was filled with newness, excitement and possibility. Isn’t that the way life should always be?
Forever young. It is the youth in me that carries me forward. It is the innocence, the naiveté, the bravado that only the young possess. Bob Dylan captured it best in “Forever Young:”
May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.
What age are you?