When I was young, I remember my mum saying, ‘Act your age’, if I was doing something that she considered was silly or childish. It always seemed to me to be a strange thing to say. If you were feeling something, why did it matter whatever age you were? Our chronological age is irrelevant. Whether we are 7 or 70, why should we be acting anything other than what we are feeling in the moment?
My friend and I laughed as we recalled the fun we’d had at fairs as young children, especially on the helter-skelter. We watched the children pick up the coir mats, climb inside to the top and twirl down the slide. Then I said how I wish I could have a go now, and we discussed the need to borrow one of the children as an excuse to go down it.
Within a few minutes, there we were, like disobedient children not acting our age, walking up to the kiosk to buy our tickets for the helter-skelter. We joked with the lady half our age, asking if there were reduced senior citizen prices. We entered the bottom of the helter-skelter and looked up at the temporary scaffolding stairs that would take us to the top. The memory of how I used to feel a little scared walking up the creaky steps returned to me as I started climbing. We slowly huffed and puffed as we climbed up the steep rickety staircase to the top, it felt much higher than it ever used to. The lady overseeing the top of the slide had to help my friend down onto the mat because her hip was a bit stiff but she squealed with laughter as she set off.
And then suddenly I was ten years old again, giggling with joy, picking my feet up and keeping my elbows in so I could go faster like I always used to, loving the twirling round and around and I zoomed off the end at the bottom before coming to a halt.
We’d met up for a shopping day but ended up shedding a few years as we returned temporarily back to the fun of our childhood youth. Nothing money can buy can bring that back. We always have that same essence inside us when we make a choice to reconnect back to it. Who says you have to act your age?
Gill R., UK
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