I never really understood this saying. I mean, first you have to toss your concept of Christianity out the window. We’ll, that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Then you have to figure out how some soul took over your body. That whole alien snatching humans thing pops to mind. Literally, this is a very difficult saying for me to process.
In practice, however, I’m starting to understand it.
I feel old. I feel like I spend a lot of time biting my tongue and shaking my head as I watch others come to realizations that are so very obvious to me. Hey, at least I’ve learned to keep my opinions to myself. Maybe that’s the lesson I needed to learn.
I do spend an inordinate amount of time analyzing for patterns and envisioning possible outcomes. I remember almost every moment of my life, both pleasurable and painful. I remember details others have long forgotten. It’s like having this enormous library of books to pull knowledge from at any time. It’s great to cherish the good times and even the mediocre times. And sometimes even the painful moments serve a purpose. They remind me of mistakes made, wrongs never righted and the importance of being true to oneself.
But back to the old soul thing. You see, I’ve been down so many paths and remember so many details that is hard not to look at a situation and shake my head. Underage drinking and the walk of shame? Check. Finding Mr. Right only to find out he’s Mr. Wrong? Check. Planning my future and having to veer way off course? Check. Battling “the system” on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis? Check. The list goes on.
There’s good stuff too. Finding Mr. Right and marrying him? Check. Having children who constantly challenge and surprise me? Check. Still speaking with my parents? Check. Finding work I love? Check. This list is even longer than the last.
I live in the now, with commentary from the then. So when I see similar situations crop up, I can already guess at least one of the outcomes. I can plot the points and connect the dots fairly quickly. The blessing of having filled my life with a wide variety of experiences is I can see the direction a path may lead and choose whether I want to go down that road again. The curse is I can see others going down those paths and I can’t say a word to interrupt their journey. How else will they learn the value of experience? All I can do is watch quietly from the sidelines and cheer them when the reach their goal.
Drawing on past experience doesn’t make me an old soul. The ability to envision the big picture is a result of taking many journeys. By not limiting myself…by not taking the easy path…by living fully…it seems I’ve lived a hundred lifetimes.
Your challenge: live. Don’t take the easy way every time. Seek out different paths. You don’t have to play it safe all the time. As the saying goes, life is what happens while you were making plans. Grab those fleeting moments. Breathe it all in and live.