How Old Am I?

agespecific_I’m 64 years old but what’s talking are those calendars piling up my years, it’s not me talking.

If I ever see “In Search of the Castaways” with Harley Mills I’ll be 8 years old again. Those days, we could stay and watch the movie a second time; and we did.

If “The Letter” by “The Boxtops” comes on the radio then I’m 15 years-old and at a weekend retreat at St. Norbert’s College in DePere, Wisconsin. The four of us seminarians plot to steal all the 45-records in the Top 30 that week at the local store. I think we failed to complete our theft-quest but that song along with “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” by “Status Quo” was among our ill-gotten gains. (I think it was “put the records in your front pants” routine.) Didn’t get caught.

When I preside at Mass, it’s the 25-year-old that wants to say what’s on his mind because it’s of extreme important but the 55-year-old reviews the message and the 64-year-old refrains from saying it.  “Whew. That was close.” And all those unwritten letters to the pastor.

The 25-year-old in me drives like a 25-year-old but the 64 butts in and tells the 25-year-old that yellow is not a suggestion but an urgent message to stop before it turns red. (The 64 also prays that no one who’s 25 years old is behind him without that earned wisdom.)

Discovering symphony music late in life, it’s the 64-year-old who remembers hearing it the first time at 30 and wishing that enjoyment began in his teens. (Oh well, better late than…?)

The 28-year-old learned and is all set to implement every Church law but the 64 has earned compassion and mercy. (I still got a “B” in Canon Law!)

The 64-year-old watches an old movie and the 15-year-old tears well up and tears run out. My 64 smiles at my 15 and thinks, “Oh, just go ahead.”

The 64-year-old reads the newspaper at my calendar age but with the passion of a college-age graduate thinking that something, somewhere can improve and be different; “If only…”  I hope to never lose that promising age of promises if I live to be 74.

I begin Mass at 28 years-old, the year of my ordination. My sermon is a combined combination of 28, 38, 48 years and now at 64 years, it’s all about proclaiming heartfelt messages of hope and peace.  I bow before the altar at the end of Mass and return to that 28-year-old wondering why I’m the one doing this and not someone else. (It only lasts a short while until I become 64 again and realize the “why.”)

But please don’t discount my wavering ages when “The Buckinghams” sing, “Don’t You Care” or “The Young Rascals” sing, “I Don’t Love You Anymore” that I don’t revert – no, I return to that glorious time of youth that brought me to this glorious age.

Am I 64 years old?  The Beatles would say “Yes,” but I’m not so sure about that.

books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS, available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon:
“Soulful Musings”
“Living Faith’s Mysteries”
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings”

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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