Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm So Much Younger Now

Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin' high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
"We'll meet on edges, soon," said I
Proud 'neath heated brow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.
~ Bob Dylan

I didn’t smile a lot when I was in my youth. I was usually serious and task oriented. So much so that Mike, a friend of my college years, called me “the Old Man.”

I can’t tell you why I was “old beyond my years.” Perhaps it was the oldest child syndrome, or the clinical depression that has plagued me since adolescence. Or, maybe, Vietnam (where I expected to go and die) or the peace protests or the alternate life styles being lived in the '60s, of which I was on the fringe but never in the mainstream. Or, perhaps, feeling a need to save the oppressed—actually the world—I found no space in my life for laugher or joy, things my relatives called “silliness.”

Yeah, even then I had a weird sense of satirical, maybe cynical, humor. But that wit only came out when I was with close and trusted friends. And even then I acted older than my age: an “old man” at twenty.

Now, at 61, I am an old man, but not nearly as old as I was at 20. Somewhere in the trek between then and now, I began to take life less seriously. Perhaps I took Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer to heart, even before I had heard it. Possibly I realized the absurdity underlying all human events. Maybe I began to realize that laugher could heal more broken hearts that somberness. Or, perchance, I just grew up.

I don’t have an answer. And, I’m in no mood to analyze how I became who I am. That examination of my life seems too serious a project, with dubious results.

So, today I am younger than I was 40+ years ago. I realize that life is to be enjoyed. Perhaps that’s the message of the bubbling Buddha and the laughing Jesus:



  1. Hi Nick. I've voted for Alex to have his own blog!

    Hey, I've just read your post on replacing your CPAP mask...what a load of codswallop when you can get it so much cheaper online albeit without the warranty. No wonder our insurance premiums are so high...doesn't it make you spit?

    Anyway, I hope all is well with you and the furball.

    Hugs to both of you. xoxo

  2. I am delighted that you have gotten younger. I cannot think of you as an old man (especially since we are the same age).

  3. Hi Nick ~~ Interesting post - a bit
    like mune of last night, about relaxing more and being easier on
    ourselves when we get older. I hope you and Alex continue to enjoy the better weather. I hope Jesus really did laugh it's a new idea.
    Take care, Kindest regards, Merle.

  4. Oh, Nick, I can really empathize with this post. I had to be an adult before I was "supposed" to be. "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that, now," too. The challenge for me from time to time has been learning to be childlike without being childish.
    Enjoy your youth. May it last throughout your life.

  5. It's never too late to learn how to be a kid although some folks go through their entire lives without it.


    Alex should have his own blog. I voted.

  6. I have a nice print of that exact same Laughing Christ print framed and hanging on my bedroom wall.

    I, too, have lightened up quite a bit as I've gotten older. I think as we age we care more about the things that matter and less about the things that don't.

  7. I would have never have guessed that you were so serious in your youth. You're blog seems so balanced between humor and more serious topics...I'm glad you learned to smile. :)

  8. I have to remind myself to be silly sometimes, too.
    My dad is a Vietnam Vet, too. Thankfully, you both made it home in one piece!

  9. I have never been serious. Is that because I am the youngest of 4 siblings? Don’t really care! Enjoyed this blog, as always.

  10. I once heard that it takes more muscles to make a frown than it does to make a smile... :)

  11. Yes, you were serious in college. But, then, so was I. As I remember we could laugh at jokes and TV and movies; it was ourselves in which we could find no humor. Thank God for growing up and older.

  12. Strange, but I don’t remember you being all that serious—or smart—in college. You were dumb enough to let us pledges capture you and take you for the ride into Fayette County where we left you to walk back to Lexington.

  13. ` Good to know you've grown younger, Nick! (I myself have de-aged a few thousand years since I was a child.)
    ` BTW, I shall draw some Alexyness for you but I must ask; is it for a profile picture or something else?

  14. This is a real interesting story, like so much you write it makes me think.

  15. Nick, 61 just isn't really considered old anymore. You're middle-aged, my friend. :-)

  16. Sooo true,
    not fun being serious all the time
    a day without smiles and laughter
    is a day wasted.