old soul

365 Challenge: Day 134 – Youthful

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Youthful: having characteristics of the young; seeming to exist for only a short amount of time


QUESTION: If you need to review the list of 365 Daily Challenge words you’ve already used prior to starting the next daily post, can you really consider yourself youthful?

  • If you answered no, please hit the unfollow button, as I have some rude things to say about you. You do not want to read them. Honestly. I can be vicious.
  • If you answered yes, you’re still on my good side. Thank you.

Are there any among us who at one point in his/her life did not wish to find the Fountain of Youth? I unequivocally admit to searching for it several times during many periods of my life. Actually, I probably wished for it as recently as this morning… when I stood from the couch and heard a lovely little cracking sound in my knees, which resulted in some rather foul language, followed by a slight limp and then within 45 seconds or so, I walked normally again. I take back everything I said about growing older. It sucks. But I’m not old. As most people in my life know, though some silly birth certificate says I am 40 this year, I claim to be 30 — and most people would believe it! And if they don’t, they aren’t around anymore to debate it.

Youthful. What does it really mean? It’s certainly a highly subjective word to each of us — different depending on your age — open to change at varying points in your life. I indicated in a previous post that I am an Old-Soul, which is quite true. But I’m also quite youthful in many things I do. There are times when I am completely immature and childish in my banter and actions. Every 4 to 6 months, I feel the need to drink too much and embarrass myself in humorous situation. On occasion, I find myself acting as though I were at least a decade younger for some bizarre explanation. Why? Oh… many reasons, I’m sure. Re-capture my youth, demonstrate I am still at the top of my game, attract the attention of someone younger (keep your mind out of the gutter, I’m a happily partnered boy man).

When I look in the mirror, there are days where I see why I am 40 years old. But after the gym or a good night’s sleep, I think, “you really could pass for 30,” and I suddenly feel elated. I admit this because I know you all do it too, or did it at some point in your past, so I feel no shame. It’s why I dye my hair. I’ve been about 10% grey since I was 21-years old. I told myself I’d stop coloring at 40, which if the numbers add up correctly happens happened in 2017 2027 — but I still do it. (Good luck trying to figure out what those cross outs mean. I don’t.)

Maybe it’s vanity. Perhaps it’s the image I want to convey. Could be that I like things different all the time. Whatever the reason, it makes me feel youthful to say I’m 30. Then I see the fine lines around my eyes. I notice the slightly reduced elasticity in my skin starting to develop in a few spots throughout my body. Not that it’s actually happened. I’m only 30. If I were 40, I’d admit to it. But I do recognize my metabolism isn’t quite as fast as it formerly was… just last year, I could eat and drink anything I wanted without it causing too much of an issue. Now, three bad days in a row and my body rebels. Youth. Oh, sometimes I want you back.

When I was younger, I wasn’t as experienced at life as I am now. Today, I rock it. I’m the picture of life, at least in the dictionary. Well… my dictionary. No one else has seen it. I keep it hidden. But back then, I had no confidence. I lacked formidable decision-making skills. I was unforgiving to others because I thought I had forever to think about fixing the problem in the relationship. I’d do a few stupid things and wonder how to get myself out of the situation without any further harm. Now, I don’t give a sh*t if someone’s got a problem with who I am. Why would I want to go back to that youthful boy who dreamed of so many wondrous but impossible things? Oh, I wouldn’t… I like being my age, but I still think about that Fountain of Youth. Curious what might happen if I could do something over again and have an even better result? It could happen, or it could be far worse. Why mess with fate? What tempt the goddess who loves to play with our minds? Dim the light, you look gorgeous. Brighten it, you see the truth. But after all, this IS my truth now.

Whatever it is that you crave to go back to in your youth… know this: it happened, let it go and move on to all the intense amazement that is yet to come – that is my new philosophy. Perhaps that’s what makes me youthful. I let the stress go much more easily. I know how to enjoy myself so much more now… and that’s what makes me truly youthful. I feel young. I crawl on the floor chasing Ryder around, headbutting him and him nipping at my ears… we are buddies… we are close… we love to play. I’m part of his pack and he seems me the same no matter what my age. I might have a few aches every so often, but for the most part, I still think and act like a 20-something with the experience of a 40-something who has frequently acted like a 60-something ready for retirement. Amusing… somewhere there my math actually balances out to my exact age, doesn’t it?

What does age mean anyway? Is it simply the number of years you’ve lived? The count of rings around your waistline? How many missed goals you’ve forgotten? Is it how you look? How you feel? The way you approach risk? The ability to bounce back quickly from a night of debauchery? Or is it simply the way you live your life… forgetting to compare yourself to others because it no longer matters… allowing any fears to dissipate because it’s better to live a life full of love than one full of concern? It’s all these things rolled into one giant metaphor… and yet, I still search for that Fountain of Youth from time to time. Do I choose not to relinquish the past? Is it simply questioning how else things could have turned out?

In case you weren’t certain, there really are no answers to these questions. Some days, you will wake up thinking you are beautiful. Others, something will trigger a less than stellar reaction. Might be the pimple that formed overnight. Or missing your weight loss goal by one pound this week. Or seeing your significant other take an extra second to look at someone else when (s)he didn’t know you were looking. We all experience this and find ourselves wondering how to turn back time. Be it physical or emotional, it’s a natural reaction to want that ability to re-start or re-ignite a youthful life from years ago. It’s healthy to think about it every so often. And I can’t say for sure if I were offered an elixir what I’d be willing to relinquish in return.

But I do know that it starts with thinking and feeling youthful; without thinking and feeling you are young, you won’t ever actually be youthful. I might bitch about not being able to eat or drink as much as I once could. I will always think the grass is greener on the other side. And it is likely I will always feel a twinge of pain in my muscles when I push myself too hard. But there is something I have my own monopoly on: the sentiments and values of a youthful mind. And I will still have it even when I am 100-years old posting my 365 Daily Challenge blog… acting and looking like I’m a mere 40-years old.

How young do you feel? If I picked my age today, I’d say I am 21. And I’d believe it.



  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Stephanie @ Novel Fiction. Stephanie and I connected a few months ago through our shared and mutual love of reading and literature. I believe it was over a few reviews I’d written on some Shakespeare classics, or I might have found a post about her being a professor… either way, I’m quite glad to know her. She is a wonderful blogger and book reviewer, who has so many books in her “Currently Reading” shelf on Goodreads, I can’t possibly keep up! But she’s one of the few people I’ve been chatting with who has as diverse reading interests as I do, probably because she’s reading everything she teaches to her students and always spending time on NetGalley receiving ARCs for her own free time (which doesn’t really exist for her).  We’ve had many conversations about how to teach English and literature to students in college these days, plus how to handle those who aren’t interested versus who are interested. We’ve also bonded over several 365 Daily Challenge words, finding new things in common and ways to help each other figure out how to blow off some steam or be happy with smaller levels of success.  I love reading comments from her, as they are always detailed, thought-provoking and incredibly integrated into the post’s purpose.  If you want to know more, which you should, so go there right now please, here’s a blurb from her About Me section:
    • “I just turned forty, am happily married to an amazing man, and have 3 wonderful kids. I also have my Master’s degree in English and Comparative Literature with specializations in British Literature, Cultural Studies, and Rhetoric and Composition from The University of  North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a minor in History. I’m a senior college professor and have been teaching British, American, and Contemporary literature for 15 years and am currently attending online classes to finish my Ph.D. in English Literature with a concentration in Literary and Cultural Studies and Linguistics and Literature. Balancing my family, teaching, and school is a crazy ride for sure! At times, I feel like I’m living out some wild, fictional storyline but no, that’s just my life, and I love every moment of it!!”


About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.


365 Challenge: Day 6 – Old Soul

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Old Soul: spiritual person whom is wise beyond their years; people of strong emotional stability. Basically, someone whom has more understanding of the world around them.

In honor of my 40th birthday, I chose the word “old soul” as today’s celebratory characteristic. I debated whether to go with “historical” or “old soul,” weighing their definitions and word types. An “old soul” is really more of a noun while “historical” is the adjective; however, the definition of “historical” was weak — basically, it means “of the past.” While ever thou is truest, it didn’t do justice to what I’m attempting to say about myself. So screw consistency today (ha!), I’m going with a noun.

When I think of an old soul, I don’t initially picture myself as one. Iffy on the spiritual part. Iffy on the understanding of the world around me part. Let’s not get into the emotional stability part. I don’t think it’s fair to comment on my own emotional stability, especially on the day I turn 40, typically the age most people consider their mid-life meltdown crisis. (Note, I’m not having one and don’t plan to either.)

But so much of who I am and what I enjoy doing is connected to the past, you know, historical. I am a genealogist. I read historical fiction. I enjoy the transition of power between various kings and queens of the past. I adore American’s Gilded Age. I wish I grew up in the 1960s. I ultimately enjoy the quieter and slower times of sitting around and observing all around me rather than engaging with every new modern toy and game on the market. But it’s really beyond that…

To me, an old soul not only echoes the past (the way they dress, the music they listen to, the books the read, the words they use), but deeply understands the past. Someone who wants to learn from the past and determine the best course for the future. No matter what task I choose, I always need to start from the beginning. Not when the issue first became a problem, or when it first was known. How did it begin? Take me on a tour of its existence and paint a picture of everything surrounding it. Help me understand its purpose down to the very core of its creation. And embrace it.

If I’m walking on land that has some personal connection to the past, I yearn to know what it was like for those who walked before me. If I’m looking at picture someone painted, I create an image of the room in which it was painted and wonder what happened there. If I hear a two-century old piece of music, I wonder what the artist went through at the time to change the face of music and give the world what it has today.

What I lack as an old soul is that spiritual quality or essence that is rare in most people. Occasionally, you’ll see and feel it from someone without ever having exchanged a word. That’s not me. I have no hidden talents of getting feelings from someone unless it’s outwardly and specifically communicated. And even then, I am sometimes the one who says “Are you being sarcastic or did you mean that?” I lack this quality with people where I feel energized and full of it with places and things.

How is that possible to be both? To feel the power of things from the past but not from people? I think it comes down to subjectivity. With people, they can tell you if you are right or wrong. Things cannot. You can learn new information and change your opinion or feelings from things, but ultimately, what you feel from an object is your interpretation of its history and existence. The blanket your great-grandmother knitted… The glasses on your mantle brought from Victorian England… The doorstop cast during America’s colonial settlement.

What I enjoy having as an old soul are the feelings of having past lives. Every so often, when I’m performing some activity or visually seeing some historical site, it’s as if I can recall being in that place. I’m not exactly transported there, but I have a small connection that makes me remember I’m more than just Jay who was born in Florida on March 18th, 1977. And for those of us lucky enough to have those moments where you without question believe and sense what you conquered before you were born, it’s a feeling unlike any other.

I think maybe I will look further into past-life regressions… I’ve been looking for something new to study, to learn, to embrace. Learning what’s real and not real in this topic would be a challenging and interesting experience. For those of you who haven’t see “Defending Your Life,” with Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep, please rent the movie. Not only does it speak volumes to me about how one should live a life, but it shows how the past can be connected to everything you do today.

So… whereas my post said I am not very spiritual in the beginning, perhaps I am more than I thought I was. And a bit closer to being that full old soul I want to be.