Childhood Memories Friday: Being Young

Childhood Memories Friday

Being young: do you remember it? I know, I know: we all remember various things from our childhoods. But do you remember what it felt like to be young?

I do, but the sensation is fleeting. On talk radio the other day, host Glenn Beck (who is my age), was discussing how he was “old, fat, and things aren’t going to get any better from here.” It made me think, because that’s pretty much true for all of us. I’m not obese, but I’m not thin and fit like I was for many years. I look at my kids now, or at pictures from my own younger days, and think, wow.

IU Dorm Willkie 1983 being young

College freshman, 1982 — posing with Charles and Di 🙂

I’m so skinny. I’m tanned (before we knew that was bad). I don’t have jowls and a double chin. And then I think, did I appreciate that? No. Because we don’t tend to appreciate the things we have until they’re gone, or going.

Turning 20 was a non-event for me. I was probably busy studying for my classes. Turning 30 was getting a little more stressful. Would I ever get married and have kids? Turning 40 was a shock — me, 40? How could this be? 50 was not too great, either. 50 sounds so … old. And ya know what? I’m not thinking that turning 60 or 70 or beyond, if I’m so blessed, is going to feel much cheerier.

I know, I know — we should be happy just to be alive to celebrate each birthday, because not everyone gets that chance. But each milestone also drives home the reality of how quickly time passes (and they older we get, the faster it goes). We realize how our bodies really don’t last forever — something I don’t think I thought about in my youth. I guess I just figured I would live on in my current state of physical health for my allotted years before one day, miraculously, failing to wake up.

During college, an older lady at the church I attended came up to me one Sunday and said, “I just love to see you. You’re just so pretty and YOUNG!” I remember thinking — “okay, that’s weird.” Pretty? I don’t know. But young, I kind of get it. My friends and I are all dealing with various aging issues, and it can feel refreshing, in a nostalgic way, to see the young. There’s just something about youthful bodies, unravaged by age and, sometimes, by our our poor habits. Maybe this is what’s behind people in nursing home loving little kids?

I read a book (I think it’s The 5 People You Meet in Heaven) about a man who was dying. He was walking outside, along a carnival pier. Right after he died, and before he realized that had happened, he experienced his body suddenly feeling really good. He was walking, and then running, not using his cane anymore, and free from pain. He jumped without giving it a thought, and realized just how free he felt. It was a great description of how trapped we can become in our bodies as they age, and of how one day we’ll be free again.

What memories do you have of your youth?

5 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Being Young

  1. As a kid I remember sweeping the kitchen in our farm home. As I swept I was thinking – “I wish I could STOP time and keep it as it is RIGHT NOW!’ But – obviously I did not figure that one out. So now at age 74 I continue sweeping a different kitchen, using my sweeper instead of a broom and still thinking from time to time – “I wish I could STOP time and keep it as it is RIGHT NOW!” I feel great. My life is so good!

  2. Most of my life I was dissatisfied over my body, and one day a few years ago came across some pictures of me in my teens and 20s and thought, “WHAT was your problem?!” I was no beauty queen, but I’d love to have the body now that I had then. I was so sad at wasting all that time and emotion on it.

    I’ve had the same reactions to milestone birthdays. I don’t think I’d want to go back to my 20s – I wouldn’t want to retrace the things I learned or lose what wisdom I’ve accumulated now. But I guess I wish I would have just appreciated the freedom of movement and lack of physical ailments I had then. 🙂

  3. Sometime in my 50s or 60s I finally learned to accept myself just the way I am at any particular age. That has worked well for me! Realizing that what is on the inside is much more important than the gradually aging exterior, set me free to quit beating myself up for being a bit overweight, having a few wrinkles here and there, etc. And yes, I do remember many a scene from my youth, but way too many to recite here. My childhood growing up on an IN farm was much better for me than living in a town or city, because I learned dozens of things that I might not have otherwise. One of my biggest joys was learning to drive a tractor and actually help out on the farm, especially after the untimely death of my father at age 36. So many of my family have died way too young, so I really do appreciate each and every day of age 76. God is good, and I thank Him every morning just for waking me up and giving me yet another day to enjoy my 3 grandchildren and their spouses, plus the 3 great-grandchildren all at age one. I feel very blessed to have friends and family who keep me young at heart.

  4. Having just lost a very good friend yesterday, I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven. Her last months were a struggle for her due to congestive heart failure. I was wondering yesterday if she was walking without difficulty, running, or maybe even flying. No more difficulty breathing. No more swelling ankles. And having the privilege of meeting the Old Testament and New Testament saints along with Christ. I can’t believe there is anything on this earth that can compare with what we have to look forward to in heaven.

  5. I made the mistake of taking my friends for granted. When I was young, I didn’t think that one day my friends, some younger and some older than me, would start to pass on. About 4 years ago, that started to happen and it has continued. I have found it is harder to make new, close friends now that I am old. I try though, but it is difficult. I am grateful for each day and the health I have to enjoy it. My advice would be to nourish and value your friends because they won’t be around forever.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing your thoughts.