Memory Lane.

I’ve spent the last month or so in the place where I was born and grew up. This evening, I was in a restaurant with my dad and another relative, when my college roommate turned up, dining with his family.

There’s nothing quite like seeing somebody you haven’t seen in over 10 years to bring back a flood of memories.

The weird thing is, he didn’t really look any older.

Then again, aside from a few pounds and few gray hairs, I don’t think I do, either.

The even weirder thing, though, is I’ve recently run into a bunch of people from my past, either in person or online, who fall into one of three categories:

  • Dear God, when did THEY get old?
  • They look pretty much the same as they did years ago.
  • Wow! They’ve gotta have a painting hidden in a closet someplace that shows them getting really old, because they look sensational.

In particular, one friend of mine from a company I used to work for and I connected online. (Should auld acquaintance be forgot, just head over to your friendly neighborhood Social network, and catch up.) Unless she’s sporting a really old picture, she doesn’t look a day older than she did almost 20 years ago. (Of course it doesn’t hurt that she was beautiful back then – and still is now. And, yes, Linda, I’m talking about you.) On the other hand, I’ve seen old friends here that I almost didn’t recognize, because they’d aged so much. Very strange. You’d think there’d be some consistency to this. Still…

I guess I’ve been thinking a lot about aging anyway, since I’m taking care of my dad, who seems as if he turned into my grandfather just about overnight. One day he was the same as he was the day I moved away. Seemingly the next day, he became the spitting image of my grandfather. Talk about dredging up all sorts of memories, feelings, emotions and such. Very strange.

One of my favorite lines from a movie came from an obscure Tom Hanks/Jackie Gleason flick, Nothing in Common, where they played young, hip art director/old-time traveling salesman father. Hank’s long-suffering fiance in the film (played by Bess Armstrong) was on him for acting like a kid. He replied, “Hey…I get paid good money for acting like a kid.” I’ve always thought that there’s a lot of truth to the axiom, “you’re as young as you feel.” I feel pretty much the same as I did when I was 20. Same face in the mirror. A few more pounds. A couple more gray hairs. Still, I don’t really see the “inner me” as any older as I was back then. I may have a lot more experience, and a few more road miles on me, but I still look at life from the same perspective I had back then. I’m still amazed by beauty. I’m still bowled over by cool gadgets. And I still love great animation. Makes me wonder if I’ll still be this way when I’m 64, to take a line from Sir Paul. I think so. One day, my body will give out, like every body does. But I like to hope that inside my head, I’ll have that same inner kid, looking for the next cool thing to keep me amused.

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