By: Joseph J. Mazzella
I am 54 years old now. Actually I should say my body is 54 years old now. On the inside I am still a bit confused about it all. Part of me is still that 5 year old boy running outside all day long playing with his dog and making silly faces in the mirror when he brushes his teeth before bed. Part of me is still that awkward teenager, looking at his gawky face in the mirror, hoping that his zits will clear up soon. Part of me is still that young man in his 20’s combing his thick, wavy hair and trimming his moustache. Part of me is still that guy in his late 30’s wondering why his hair is turning gray so soon and why it is getting so thin on top. Part of me is the guy I am today, looking in the mirror with his gray hair, deep wrinkles, and partially bald head, wondering why I look so old when I still feel so young.
Maybe our bodies aren’t the best barometer for judging aging. I have known people in their 70’s and 80’s who are far younger than I am. I have known people in their 20’s who are grumpy, old cranks compared to me. Maybe aging is a process. We start out young and innocent. We grow old and worried. Then we grow young and wise. Often it takes a long time to realize what life is all about. It takes time to give up our fears for love. It takes time to see just how much God loves us. It takes time to realize that “The coat of have can never cover the growing body of want.” It takes time to see that happiness comes from living and loving NOW not working for some perfect future that never arrives.
We need to see that aging isn’t that person we see in the mirror. We need to see that aging is growing. Aging is growing better, kinder, more loving, and more one with God. We need to see that on the inside we are both ageless and forever young. Then we can freely love God, ourselves, and everyone else. Then we can truly live today and for all eternity.