“Let me tell you, if you ever do an interview with the XX Times Sunday Magazine Features Editor, watch yourself–what you say. They will take your words and twist them.
“There’s a little tip for you.”
The visiting artist I am transporting has offered me this kindness, as we near the close of our two-hour drive together. Yet, for most of our trip, the main topic of conversation has been child-rearing.
The artist is a woman in her early forties. She has experienced a sudden and tremendous commercial success in the art world, while attempting to manage with a toddler at home. I am just thirty and a student, with a child who is a few years older than this woman’s daughter.
Thus, despite the difference in our linear ages and the enormous gap in our professional situations, it is I, who has been listening compassionately, while I dutifully attempt to hand out sage advice on parenting an active toddler.
The advice-ffirmations go something like this. “Yes, taking an adult, personal time-out in the bathroom is a perfectly sound idea…to regain composure before re-approaching your toddler. That way no one gets hurt.”
Some time, during our two-hour tenure in the car, I realize we–as individuals–actually enjoy a variety of ages, stages and experience.
There is the most obvious age, which is linear. It may be calculated mathematically: current year minus birth year equals your age.
Then, we have our “physical-shape” age. We would need a trip to a medical specialist to check the health of our telomeres to determine where we sit on this age scale.
On the drive, the situation with the artist, where a “younger” parent is able to give advice to an “older” parent because the child/ren of the younger parent is/are actually older than the child/ren of the older parent, comes to light.
Also, there is the issue of experiential age, which has a variety of facets (personal, professional, educational, etc.). Have you been around the block? Once? Twice? Thrice? Jimi Hendrix comes to mind.
And, we cannot fail to mention the impact that an upbeat, sunny disposition has on how old we feel or appear to be to others.
Finally, there is the concept of The Old Soul, where linear age and telomeres account for very little, and what really matters is how a soul brings its wisdom lessons to bear on the situations and circumstances of a given moment in Time.
Pause. Consider. Contemplate. Are you experienced?
The question, “How old are you?” may deserve a radically different answer than your would-be, engraved-in-granite linear age. The next time that question arises, you may find yourself wanting to give an answer reflecting the notion you carry of yourself deep within your heart.