Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dear Remiman,
I have a question for you to ponder that I've started thinking about...

Have you ever said to yourself "Man, if I was __ age again, I would do

this..." ? It seems to me that I think that every so often. Not that I

regret what I've done or where I am in my life... but whenever I look back

at pictures or remember how my life was then, etc... I find myself

saying... If I was 21 again, I would have no fear doing "fill in the


I think about it more as I approach my 30th birthday... and I think man I

wish is could be 21 again. but if I step back, I realize that in only 10

short years I will be 39 about to be 40, and I anticipate I will think

"Man, If I was 29 going on 30..." I guess its a continuous lesson in Carpe


But my question to you is, If you were given the gift of "turning back the

hands of time" and you woke up tomorrow 29 going on 30, what would you do

tomorrow afternoon?



Dear #23,

If I woke up tomorrow, age 29 going on 30, what would I do?
The simple answer and not being glib in anyway, is that I would do exactly what I did the first time around.

I do understand that your question is more rhetorical, representing a major "passage" for you, rather than expecting to hear some : "If I had it to do over I'd do such and such."
I have few if any regrets about the choices I've made in this lifetime. If I were to go back now and change some decision, new or different, then I wouldn't be the person I am now, nor would I be here in this place. More importantly...neither would you (hypothetically.)
29 going on 30 was a very traumatic time for me. Of all the decade transition times, it was the hardest. Turning 40, 50, and 60 were marked as mile stones only, but without much emotion.
My 58th year was a little stressful since that was the age my father was when he moved on to another plain. I worried that I'd suffer a similar fate. Other than that, I've always felt growing older beat the alternative.

In her best-selling 1976 book, "Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life," Gail Sheehy defined 30 as the beginning of midlife. I read that book in 1977 at age 32. It was a most revealing book and helped me understand my feelings. I didn't want to be 30 because that was "old age", I wasn't a kid anymore, I was a grown-up now, and most importantly it was the age when I began to realize my mortality. I now knew that I was no longer 6 feet tall and bullet proof. Even though at age 30 I'd already been married for 8 years, had a 7 year old daughter, and a 3 year old son, I didn't see myself as old enough to be "30." Thirty was "over the hill." You were no longer in the "in" crowd. Young folks didn't talk to people over thirty because they were adults and couldn't/wouldn't understand.

Yesterday, Dr. Thompson asked me: "rel, how old are you? I mean in your mind, not your chronological age. How old do you feel? " I said "29. Well, actually I'm in better shape now than I was when I was 29."

I was in Korea for most of my 29th year, with the U.S. Army. The tour was unaccompanied, meaning I had to leave my family stateside while I served a year there. Because of all those your getting older thoughts, I decide to get back to my "fighting weight", get back into shape and hold on to youth for as long as possible. Stave off father time if you will. Remember I was still in my twenties, so I could do anything. I went on a diet: for 30 days I ingested only water and tea. I lifted weights everyday, I ran everyday (the 2 packs-a-day of non-filter Camels couldn't slow me down). I played inter mural baseball and touch football. I played tennis everyday. I lost 30 pounds in 30 days, and ended up in the hospital for a lymph node biopsy of a huge lump under my right arm. Long story short...the doctor said: eat! So I did; one meal a day (well balanced..500 cal. a day) for the next 30 days. So, in 60 days I had lost 40 lbs and weighed what I had at high school graduation. When my wife joined me for the month of Oct., she didn't even recognize me when she got off the plane.

Your feelings are normal. Everyone will experience what you are feeling and thinking now. More meet it at 40 than 30 but it is a universal rite of passage.

Carp Diem!

You said, "
I find myself

saying... If I was 21 again, I would have no fear doing "fill in the


Remember, you can always be 21 in your mind, just like I'm 29. Now you can do what ever you choose without fear.

I remember a conversation I had 11 or 12 years ago with 3 young, cocky, devil may care men.
One said to me: "Dad, we've been talking and we were wondering, we notice that whenever you decide to do something you just go ahead and do it, like, you know, nothing stops you. You always do what ever you say you're going to do."
Me: " yeah, so what's your question".
Son; "Dad , we were wondering, why you smoke?"

#23, age is just a number, don't ever let it stop you from doing anything.
Carpe Diem!




Blogger Jellyhead said...

Wow, Rel - what an unusual and insightful post! Your blog is a constant surprise and always a delight.

I think you live well. I want to live well and stay healthy in mind and body and soul, too.

I just have one request....please tell me you don't still smoke!!! (or if you do, please tell me you are giving up very very soon!) Not that I'm a bossy interfering person or anything ;-)

5:55 PM  
Blogger rel said...

I quit smoking August 6th, 1996! Wahoo!!!

6:35 PM  
Blogger Catch said...

In my mind I am only in my 20s....but I found out the other day while trying to move the livingroom suite around that my dang back seems well into its 80's! It took me about 30 minutes to get the tv moved to the other side of the room...I had to sit down and rest between pushes! Now I know I could have taken it off the stand and it would have been much simpler, but thats where my 20 yr old mind comes in...and it says to me " just move it all together" I did. I do not understand why my back is suddenly protesting these things. I guess its just not as young as my mind.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Rowan said...

Glad you liked the photo of Astbury Rel. I'm like you, turning 30 was worse than any of the other milestone ages for me. In my head I'm around 35 and happily my body is still able mostly to keep up the illusion:) I think all the walking I do helps plus a set of helpful genes. I still can't believe that I'm actually 60. The only thing I'd have done differently is to have travelled more, I've seen quite a bit of the world but there are still lots of places I'd like to visit or revisit. South Africa especially, I'd like to think I'll go back there again someday.

2:55 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

I have read a very wonderful sentence on, it is said that everyone should live everyday as if it were your last bacause oneday it will be.

3:29 AM  
Blogger Carole Burant said...

I found this such an interesting post, Rel. I'll be turning 50 this year and of all my birthdays I think this one is bothering me the most. I mean, I'm not ready to be half a century old!!! lol They say age is just a number and I tend to agree because I truly don't feel like I'll be 50...I remember my mom turning 50 and thought she was so old! As for being able to go back in time...sure, there are some things I would change but you know, life is too short to live with regrets! xox

9:12 AM  
Blogger Giggles said...

Thought provoking post, even though I'm wiser now....I may have changed a few things along the way....maybe been a bit more promiscuous ...okay just kidding...I was wild enough! In some ways I don't think I ever grew up. I still possess many child like qualities peppered with a sagacious spirit! I'd say my mind is 17 and my body is old like dirt! Even though my fortieth was a crisis filled time, thirty was still my hardest birthday to date!

Good questions, a great challenge....I will be pondering it more...then posting in the near future....thanks for the great prompt!

Hugs Sherrie

1:04 PM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

Interesting post. For me 35 was the hard age, partly because its half way to 70 and partly because I went to a poetry reading around my 35th birthday where the poet had a few poems dealing with 35 being the hardest age. But in my head I'm probably around 31 though I don't mind getting older and I think the idea of living every day as if its your last is a great one.

10:36 AM  
Blogger UnsinkableMB said...

I'm catching up on my reading - and was glad to come across this post. Thirty-eight is quickly approaching and I was just starting to feel the dread. In my head I still feel 25, so I'll just go with that! Bring on the cake and ice cream!

1:16 AM  

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