I believe we are born with two fountains of youth. The first fountain, which I call the physical fountain, governs how we look and makes us look like raisins when we grow older. Essentially, this fountain has a leak in it and it’s a leak that cannot be stopped. We can exercise, eat right, and even have cosmetic surgery, but nothing can stop the leak. Nothing can stop us from aging. Nothing can stop us from looking older. We can even go on a holy quest to keep our youth. When we return, we will be older and people will think we were nuts for going on a holy quest. Nothing can stop our youth from slowly draining away.
The second fountain, which I call the mental fountain, governs how we feel (I feel young, I feel old, or I’m a kid at heart). I’m not sure if the mental fountain has a leak or not, but it appears to be intertwined with the physical fountain to some degree. If we look young, we tend to feel young. If we look old, we tend to feel old.
During our lifetime, our mental fountain of youth can get lost. We can lose our youth as a result of a defining moment in our life. This defining moment will vary from person to person. It could be an event like losing our job, getting a divorce, or a death in the family.
My defining moment was the birth of my first child. Until she was born, I felt young. I exercised almost every day; I went on long bike rides and played basketball and tennis. I was a hot stud (OK, I was never a hot stud, but this is my blog so lets go with it). But since the day my daughter was born, I felt old. Really, really, really old. Don’t get me wrong, when I play with my kids, I feel like a kid too. But for the most part, I feel old.
How can such a wonderful event like birth, cause me to lose my youth? The answer: daddy. After our first child was born, my wife stopped calling me honey or the ultimate stud muffin (remember, this is my blog). Now she calls me daddy. My wife is now mommy. Our parents are now grandma and grandpa. My wife and I brought a new life into this world. The price, my youth (my wife doesn’t feel any older).
Exercise, bike rides, basketball, and tennis has been replaced with changing diapers, picking up toys, feeding the kids, and tucking them in at night. I use to be relatively care free, but now I find myself worrying about viruses, cars speeding through the neighborhood, and broken bones (my son broke his collar bone before his second birthday).
Is there a happy ending to this story? I hope so. I think I can get my fountain of youth back again. I’m not sure when or how, but I believe it can be done. Maybe its as simple as re-engaging the things I used to do when I felt young. Or maybe I won’t find my youth until my kids are older and less dependent on me. Someday, I will be younger again.