How the hell did this happen? Just a couple of years ago, I was seventeen, with an entire life ahead of me. Just a few months ago, I was thirty and in the midst of living that life. Just last week I was fifty, a bit confused about how fast that seemed to arrive, but not the least bit chagrined by it.
A few days later, I was fifty-seven and hiking the Appalachian Trail with a bunch of twenty-one-year-old kids looking at me as if I would drop dead at any moment. I finished it, many of them did not.
I woke up this morning, which is always a positive sign, and realized that I am sixty-seven years old.
Sixty-seven, no matter how one tries to pretty it up or alter reality, sounds old. And while I hope to continue gathering these years and decades for the foreseeable future, they will all be a steady march into being older.
XVII to LXVII seemed a flash in the eye. Like fast forwarding a movie where you recognize faces and things but hardly have a moment to enjoy them and they are gone.
If age is a state of mind, it seems like the state is also speeding up through time and space.
Several years ago, someone once said, “You still think of yourself as a seventeen-year-old kid, don’t you?” I wasn’t certain what they meant by that, but now, with the added fifty years on top of those seventeen, I think I do.
Inside looking out is that seventeen-year-old me, existing in a dichotomy. One part is seventeen and trying to understand how time keeps speeding up and wishing it wouldn’t. The other part is the person looking back at me in the mirror who has a lifetime of memories, a gaggle of family and friends, yet managed to hold on to the optimism of that seventeen-year-old so I can look forward to “reeling in the years.”
While only time will reveal how many Roman Numerals I add to my total be it LXVIII or CXVII, the seventeen-year-old inside me is still enjoying the trip.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.