I used to believe that just like Peter Pan, I'd never grow older.
And for a good long while, life seemed to play along with my conviction. I even found myself cast in a movie called Bagets. What better way to perpetuate a legacy of eternal youth?
Well, suffice it to say that Bagets happened almost 40 years ago and as far as Peter Pan is concerned, I haven't seen him since I last visited Neverland.
Yet even as I turn another year older as further proof that time stops for no one, I have to say that I rather like it.
The problem, you see, with being young is that people treat you like you don't know what you're doing. I prefer being treated as I am now, as if I do know what I'm doing. Even when I don't.
And as determined as I am in keeping the inner child in me alive and well, I have to say that I've become very comfortable with who the years have made me become.
When I was younger, I used to look enviously at older people going around with their silver hair and elegant canes and think to myself, how dignified they look. No wonder they're called 'Ma'am' or 'Sir'.
Well, now my hair is silver and people call me sir. I suppose the only thing missing is that I sport a cane.
Not that I need one, though. This pandemic has made me physically stronger than I was before because of all the heavy lifting I do every time I see a stump or a log that I feel the need to take home with me and transform.
But I still appreciate the look and feel of a handsome cane, so I thought I'd make one from something special that I found along the shores of Calatagan--a root from a mangrove tree.
The wood has been preserved by the sea and shaped by nature itself. I merely extended it on both ends to make it longer, enhanced its curves, gave it a couple of copper accents, then sealed it with Danish oil to bring out the grain.
Blame it on the fact that I turn 56 this month, but the word 'baston' no longer applies to the cut of jeans I used to wear when I was younger, but rather to something that six seasons of Downton Abbey have proven to me to be so courtly and refined-- a cane.
If it is true that aging is mandatory while aging gracefully is a choice, I'd have to say that I'd always pick doing things with grace. Or at least give it my most gracious try.