It sometimes happens; I found myself in the food court of our local mall around lunch time. What better time for a slice of pizza and a diet coke. (They offset each other in my diet book). It was a weekday and school was still in session so the crowd, in general, was a bit older. It was mostly twenty five and older, evening split around age fifty five.
As I sat there I watched those who where older, trying to imagine them when they were young going to high school. Did the gray headed guy in the ponytail think he’d have one when he turned older? Did the guy who clearly was very much overweight with a waist line exceeding forty-two know the slim body of his youth would fill out to that extent? How about the bald guy (no, no me)? When did he sense his full head of hair was destined for the floor?
Did any of us ever envision we’d look like we do today? I can look at some of my high school classmates in our yearbooks pictures knowing what they look like today and still can, to some extent, see that teenager I knew over fifty years ago. But each of us in our own way has morphed from someone of seventeen or eighteen into adults in our early sixties and seventies. In some ways we probably aren’t shocked by what we look like today because we have been there each day as we gradually changed. Yet in some ways I doubt if any of us could ever dream what we’d look like today.
If I could introduce John of fifty-some years ago to the John of today, I suspect that youthful John would be somewhat baffled. He might think I was a long lost uncle, that I somehow fit into the family lineage but no sure where or how. I doubt, however, he would ever guess he was looking at himself more than five decades later.
So it is with all of us. In some respects we don’t change yet in many ways we do, both physically and mentally. Just as time gradually remolds the clay with which we are formed, so it is that time and experience changes the way we think.
As for those in the mall younger than fifty-five, I think those nearer the high end have a sense of what is coming. As for those nearer to twenty-five – well, someday they will think back to the way they use to be and be wonder how they got to there from here.