Last night my husband and I visited our old college for an alumni night of sorts. It involved a track meet and while I didn't figure it out at first, most and maybe all of the participants, were alumni. However, they mostly looked like college kids to me. I later realized that they had to be at least 5-10 years older than that. Or more. Some brought their small children with them, a few had older kids. But wow... It really made me feel old! We looked around for people we went to school with and realized that we probably wouldn't recognize them anyway! They have all become old too!
I realized last night that I spend too much time with people my own age and don't really have a clue as to what most younger folks, except for my own kids, are thinking and doing. It was kind of invigorating and kind of depressing at the same time. It was fun to experience their youthful vibe and sad to realize that my "youthful vibe" is a thing of the past. I think there are trade-offs between youth and age, and each has their benefits, but that's another blog.
Most of the twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings I saw last night are still finding their first path in life and haven't realized that whatever they are doing now, they will be reinventing themselves over and over again. For some of them, that would probably be a scary thought, just like it is for some of us trying to find our next step in life. I'm not sure if they would realize how invigorating the search for new beginnings can be when you open up and dive right into it. They are still thinking that one path can carry you straight through your life. It might be easier if it did, but not nearly as much fun.
Maybe the invigorating aura from the young alumni is also matched by the invigorating aspects of reinventing yourself after 50. While I can't run two miles any more (although some people my age certainly can...and at least one of them did last night!), my intellect is capable of far more than when I was 30. My observations of the world around me are so much more enjoyable and thought-provoking than they have ever been. I relish the insights I have gained and enjoy the leisure time to try new things, keep my body in shape, and visit with friends.
But I think I need to spend more time around younger people and make some younger friends to keep that spirit of youthful enthusiasm as an inspiration to my own new beginnings. I may have something to teach them, but they also have things to teach me.