Recently, I was introduced to a song I’ve never heard from a movie I’ve never seen. The movie was The Mule and the song was Don’t Let The Old Man In by Toby Keith. Though I still haven’t seen the movie, I have listened to the song several times. I’ve watched the music video (which is, I assume, a compilation of clips from the movie) and Googled the lyrics.
Due to copyright laws, I won’t quote the exact words here, but there’s a line in the song that basically encourages us to think about how old we might be if we didn’t know how old we actually were. As a writer, I am in awe of those who can craft these magnificently thought-provoking phrases. Those who can pump so much significance into so few words. It’s boggling, it’s mind-bending, and since learning of the song, I haven’t stopped pondering its meaning.
How old would I be if I didn’t know my actual age?
Granted, growing older generally brings with it additional challenges and responsibilities that we don’t experience as youngsters. And certainly, aging bones and muscles and joints are quicker to remind us of our physical limitations. But obligations and physical changes aside, is aging as much a mindset as it is living a number of years? And if that’s the case, would we approach it differently if we were unaware of that number?
I like to think that not knowing my age would, by default, free me from the weight of expectation based on that age—how I should be spending my time, what life stage I should be in, what I should have accomplished by now, etc.
And without that added pressure and anxiety, I also like to think that I would be able to create more freely, sing more loudly, dance more confidently, and laugh more often.
I would throw on a swimsuit without concern of the state of my skin or muscle tone.
I would eat ice cream with reckless abandon (and without counting the calories).
I would play more and worry less.
I would go sledding and build snowmen and run through sprinklers and marvel over the beauty of God’s creations.
I would love compassionately, give generously, and live wholeheartedly.
I could go on and on adding things to this list, but I don’t think I need to. I think I have my answer. If I didn’t know my actual age, apparently I would be about eight years old.
How old would you be?