“How does it feel to be the oldest?”
That question was put to the oldest person in the UK. I wonder how I would respond should I be in her shoes. Maybe with something like, “I don’t feel any different. You’re the one telling me about it.”
I got asked a similar question some years ago.
“How does it feel to be 40?” My wife and siblings asked me. I didn’t feel any different from the day before or even the year before.
Age is mostly a physical thing. Your body adjusts, but your mind can refuse to follow. I am in my mid-40s now and approaching 50, and I still feel 26 in my head.
My body is betraying me in little ways – the mild tummy and the strands of grey hair here and there are two cases in point. But in my head, I don’t feel middle-aged.
As a matter of fact, it took me aback the first time, when at a store, a sales lady addressed me as “Daddy”. Hey, egbami! What is that?! Who is your daddy?!
That has happened often enough not to shock me anymore, but I do find it amusing. My head is like, “What is wrong with these young people?”
In my head, I still look forward to inter-planetary and inter-stellar space travel. I still explore the depths of the oceans in a submarine. I still hike around the world and explore caves, mountains and the canyons.
There are times it is very evident how far I have come though. For one, every time I visit a university campus, I see the students and they are so small. I wonder, “Is this how small I was when I was here?”
Or when I go dancing and I get those stares that say something like, “Who is this old man that is oppressing us like this?” Oh, yes; I still out-dance most people – and they are almost always young people – that I meet on the dance floor.
One positive side to this aging thing is that police harrassment has all but disappeared. I travel by road quite a bit and so get stopped by the usual boys in black (or blue, depending). Usually, after I wind down the window glass, I get a deferential greeting and get waved on. Years ago, I’d be drilled about everything.
And that is sad. It isn’t a crime to be young. It bothers me that our law enforcement agents are predatory on people just because they are young. Bother? No. It gets my blood boiling. But that is a discussion for another day, lest I digress.
Don’t ask me how it feels to be 50 when that time comes. I certainly will not feel my age. I’d still be very much 26. That was perhaps the last time I felt my age. For some reason, I think time froze in my head about 20 years ago.
I have been forever young since then. I think that was the age I became a vampire. Most definitely.