What’s Your Number?

I’m 45 in body but in my mind I am 23. It’s not a cute metaphor for how young I feel. It’s an age where time stopped advancing. My roots are grey, wrinkles continue to make their presence known on my face, but for some reason I’ve always been 23.


I can still see the cake my roommates made for me that year. The number 23 written in Smarties on top.


Yes, this strange feeling has created periods of disconnect, like feeling tired and worn out after a rough night’s sleep, when I think I should feel as energetic as I did at 23. And often looking to someone else to lead, parent or approve, when it’s me, the 45 year-old’s job.


I don’t know why but that’s my number. 23.


To me, my mom has always been 42. I was a teenager then. Maybe that’s when I first saw my mom in age. Even now, when I hear her talk, she’s still 42 to me.


It makes me think of my grandmother and how I saw her. She always seemed 60. In her later years, her age caught up. It never occurred to me that she may have felt much younger and that we all treated her too old because of the elderly skin she wore.


That we treat all of the aged too old.


I wonder how old Nan was in her mind. Was she 60? Was she 36? Was she 18? In her head, was she still strolling the hills of Drumheller, a young girl? I think so. Because she always had a spring in her step, a song on her lips, and could Charleston at the drop of a hat.


When we meet one another, instead of assessing physical years, we should ask each other’s number and communicate accordingly.


I think we each have a number. What’s yours?


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