Youth | Mark’s Remarks - Republic-Times | News

Youth | Mark’s Remarks

By on July 18, 2018 at 9:30 am

You see the older guy who still keeps himself fit and trim, and is admired because of it.  But he won’t allow himself to be associated with older folks, so he hangs out with none of them, views growing older as something that won’t affect him, and ventures out to see if he can recapture his youth.

Some guys, in their minds, have achieved success. They’ve found younger women who are interested, and some have abandoned their families to start their youth over.

I never understood it, especially when guys give up great lives to regain what they really can’t. And how many times have we seen such relationships fizzle?

I certainly understand the longing, at times, for youth. I mean, how many times have you heard “I wish I knew then what I know now.” How many of us would like to have our young bodies back? Or our energy? I don’t think I appreciated any of that when I was younger.  I’m not ancient or anything, but I sure don’t feel 20 anymore.

Or even 30, for that matter.

You see plenty of men and women who age but still take care of themselves, color their hair, and engage in plenty of activity to keep themselves young. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Some older ladies were gossiping one day about a mutual acquaintance who liked to keep her hair long and dressed, in their words, “far too young.” But they couldn’t deny the fact she had a good time in life. I think they talked themselves out of their jealousy or their judgment, but I could still tell they were a tad envious.

I recently read an article about Florence Harding and Mamie Eisenhower. Both were older First Ladies whose husbands had possibly had their heads turned by younger women. Both women tried their best to appear youthful and exuberant. When there would be a White House visit, they both dressed in the latest fashions and skipped down a staircase to meet someone. It was very important to both of them to appear young. Later, both admitted to spending a day or two in bed following a large White House function.

It’s always been fun to hang out with older folks. I’ve learned to be patient with long, drawn-out stories, and really could listen for hours to the stories I’ve heard. I think we’d all benefit from being around older folks, taking an interest, and probably getting a lot of wise counsel.

One older gentleman told me once that he liked to be around younger people. He didn’t like it because he thought of himself as young, but he liked the “vibe” younger folks had. He also often said, “All my old people friends sit around and talk about what ails them all the time.”

Always, there was a twinkle in his eye.

He was never much of a guy to lecture or tell us younger folks what to do. As you know, there are plenty of older folks who want to instruct you and can even be borderline critical. This older man wanted kids to learn lessons by doing. It was a good approach. He was a quiet soul, never too pushy, and always appreciative to the young folks who took an interest.

We were staying at a hotel once, and there was group of ladies there for a class reunion.  We saw them in the pool one day, having a great time and whooping it up. Later that evening, we saw them leaving the hotel, headed to the reunion. I believe it was their 50th reunion, but you would have thought they were 18 again.  They weren’t pretending, but they were enjoying themselves.  Embracing their wisdom and their experience. They weren’t hiding the fact they were older, but they weren’t hiding it either.

All of them, dressed to the nines, looked awesome. As they left, a gentleman complimented them on how they looked. One of them grabbed him and kissed him on the cheek. As they left, they high-fived one another. It was hilarious.

I was blessed to have older folks around me all my life. I had grandparents who lived into their 90s, and I had great-aunts who lived beyond that. One of my aunts lived to be 103, and was always the type of older person who didn’t meddle too much or tell you what to do. I always admired her for that.  Another aunt had photos in her house of going ziplining when she was 87. When we visited her, she was 91 and could still stand on her head.

In this society today, where focus on youth and appearance so much, it’s easy to get down in the mouth about not being young anymore. I think that’s another distraction that keeps us away from living life. We need to be mindful of where we are and what we can do. Why not go and do what you can while you feel like it? And I feel like God still wants us to serve, and go and do as long as we are able. Even when we aren’t able to do as much, we still have a purpose.

And I really do think that old cliché is so right: You’re as young as you feel.

Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.