“Stop It!”

how-smoking-accelerates-the-aging-process“Stop it,” I keep saying to myself as the years pile on and retirement is no longer another person’s fate.

“I want to be 18 again” with all the silly questions and worries that preoccupied me.  All my hesitations and doubts at that age as best I can recall now instead of the confidence and assurance that experience has taught me, sometimes in spite of myself and other times through thorough practice.

“Stop it.”  Another aging spot appeared today when yesterday my skin was smooth and taut.  My 20’s was a time wondering how I would succeed and the tests in school, endless tests that tested only what I remembered the teacher saying instead of the comfort age has given me of knowing what happened years ago and not repeating the same mistake.

“Stop it.”  I think I need a larger belt but I refuse to buy one.  “When will I come into my own,” were ongoing thoughts in my 30’s.  As I priest, it was being endlessly asked “When will you get your own parish?” as in either I’m wasting my time in this parish doing all I needed to do as an associate pastor or I’m not a real priest because I’m not the pastor.

For you it may have been the failed marriage because you thought you knew it all at that age and discovered, sadly, the opposite.  For me, there was often in my head that Saturday night confusion about tomorrow’s sermon, “You don’t want to say that,” “This is weak stuff,” instead of the assurance I know enjoy that I have something to say and Saturday night has returned to being a fun night.

“Stop it.”  Alas, my thighs seem to be disproportional to the rest of my body.  My 30’s continued childish questions like “Will they like me?” “Will they accept me?” (I think of “A Knights Tale” movie where it’s said, “You’ve been weighted, measured and found wanting”) instead of the hard earned peace that surprises me often now when I experience it.

“Stop it.” “What’s with this grey stuff that sticks over my natural hair color?”  Do I really miss my early humor that was often at the expense of someone else instead of the self-effacing humor that I easily throw out today?

Was all that turmoil and young confusion that attractive to me that I now yearn for a repeat performance?  Do I really want the angst of 20 and 30 years old?  I smile when thinking about it because I then say to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding.”  (pun intended.)

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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