Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's cloud's illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all
Do you remember laying in the grass and seeing all kinds of images in the clouds? Of course we know they are not really castles or faces or animals. Illusions, delightful or terrifying. Our perceptions.
Most things we learn in life are based on our perceptions. That's why two people can see the same thing and see something different. And if something is said often enough, we may even accept it as truth. Some things are beyond our understanding and we accept it as truth even though we don't fully comprehend the details, like how electricity works. It is enough to know that if we turn on a light switch, electricity will cause the light to shine.
Age is a number. It's a fact. It's a perception. It's an illusion.
When we are young, we feel invincible. When we are middle aged, we still feel like there is a lot of time yet. As long as the older generation is still alive, it skews our perception. Usually children outlive their parents. If we still have a parent, we have the illusion of a safety net against our own mortality.
Dad (at 91) and me in 2008
Then comes the day when we say good-bye to our last parent. Suddenly we realize we are not only orphans, we have also become the older generation. It happened when we weren't looking.
Nothing really changed in that one day. It was an imaginary line we crossed. Are we really older now?
Age is a number, but the bodies of two people who are the same age tell a different story.
Some of it is genetics. Some of it is what we do: how we eat, how active we are, our mental outlook, our indulgences, maybe even how we perceive ourselves. There are so many things that factor into our body's aging.
Isn't older a relative term? Older than what? In my lifetime, I've seen age go from something that was revered to something that is abhorred. Age with grace, my friends. I love knowing everything I know now that a younger person cannot even imagine yet, but they will someday.
Don't let anyone else write the end to your story. Be brave and courageous. Enjoy every day. Dance when you want. Sing with gusto. Live with passion. As I write this, I am getting an insane urge to break dance!