I was driving the other day (because that’s 80% of my life right now) and the song Forever Young by Alphaville came on and I went down a mental rabbit hole of what that means. Not only in the song, but our own unique take on aging, what being young means and most importantly (it would seem) what it looks like and (truly most importantly) how it makes us feel.
My son’s great-grandmother, Nellie (GG) was in her 80’s when I first met her and while everything about her physical body said “cute, fashionable, well-put together 80 year old little lady” her eyes showed the mischief-making, playful, joyful soul of a child. She delighted in watching the hummingbirds dine at the feeder at the living room window, she watched the skies for clouds to see what forms they resembled and to look for lions in the skies, with galloping horses and ivory towers, huge sunflowers swaying in a dance with the mighty wind. She adored the bees and all God’s creatures because they were God’s creatures and full of wonder and beauty, as such. She spoke of passing away and death as “graduating” and I never heard her go a day without remarking in wonder about something she saw or heard. She delighted in the every day, found miracles at each turn and knew that many more were happening all around, near and far. She loved dessert at any time of the day and had her tea with frosted raisin Mother’s cookies. She was neat and tidy but warm and loving; any mess made by her grandson wasn’t cleared right away and was treasured for the expression of his creativity and encouraged as if he were a young Michelangelo in the making. She spoiled him with love and it was unlimited, unconditional and the only way that she loved anyone.
I was able to spend time with GG and will always be grateful for; she was the rare individual who was able to go through life in this world and yet retain that child-like wonder, pureness of heart and ability to love without limit or condition. This, to me, is to be forever young. Let my body succumb to gravity, let my laughter carve paths of joy on my face; but my heart will stay young and vibrant, my eyes will sparkle with the energy of a 2 year old being held in place before launching themselves into play. I will remember that life is short and good deeds ripple on long after they’re done and that living honestly is easier than living a lie.
Lift your head to the sky, close your eyes, let the sun kiss your face, let the breeze embrace you; open your ears and listen with all of your heart and soul.
Life is what we create of it; the decisions, the perspective, the lens through which we view all we see and all we do. We may not be able to control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond.
Change is the only constant but I believe I can be the commander of our destiny.
Adjust the sails, keep the child inside alive and well, safe and sound, ready to explore each day with gratitude and infinite wonder and you will be Forever Young.