I once read this quotation by the English naturalist John Ray: "They who are young when they are old, / must be old when they are young."
This quote did not make that much sense to me when I first read it sometime back in the early- to mid-1990s when I was throwing myself at a university education for which I had no passion, but I wanted very much for it to be true. I felt older than old inside since my first buds of self-awareness post-toddlerhood, and I could never make sense of other children and young adults who seemed so glowing with youth and élan. Something inside me was tired.
All signs of noticable aging throughout my life — growing taller, finding new patches body hair, premature greying — served to redouble my feeling of absolute agedness. I wondered what it felt like to be young.
What's strange now is that, just when my body is starting to show signs of middle-aged decline like the slow slouch of breasts and wrinkling around my eyes, I feel younger than I ever have.
I feel like a kid in a body much too old, and it seems to belong less and less to the spirit on which it's hung.