My memory of my first visit to Firenze (affectionately known as Florence to everyone other than the Italians) includes lazing in a beautiful park, flowers everywhere, munching on Italian hams and cheeses, sipping red wine (and probably the cheapest available, as I was on a student budget at the time). Of course I’d also been to see the infamous statue of David. It was a happy, go-lucky time of my life and I vividly remember admiring one of God’s creatures in the form of the male species, jokingly likening him to the statue of David, with one of my girlfriends. Your youth should always have such pleasant memories.
Thirty years later and some, excited to return, I find that Firenze, as beautiful as it is with its architecture and history, variety of shops, restaurants, river flowing through it, a perfect example of the pure essence of Italian lifestyle, was just not what I remembered, expected, or maybe wanted. Maybe, secretly, I wanted to be whisked back to that world devoid of worry and filled with carefree moments, idle days and endless dreams. Maybe I just wanted to be young again.
But is being young manifested only by your age or can it be a way of life – the way you engage with the world around you. I never think of myself as being old, mainly because in my mind there’s nothing stopping me from being or doing all the things I want to be and do. Would I go back to my youth? An emphatic NO. Who I am today is a result of the mental and spiritual growth I’ve experienced over the years. Why then are we obsessed with being young, keeping our youthful appearance? Why are we afraid of growing old?
I’ve decided now that, in fact, I AM YOUNG! Young in spirit and at heart. The memories I create at this stage of my life are even more pleasant because the ‘me’ in it is the same ‘me’ of thirty odd years ago – just a ‘me’ with double the responsibilities, yes, but more importantly, double the love and double the blessings in my life.