Last weekend I read a book by Maya Angelou. I don’t think she meant the book for me, because she titled it, Letter to My Daughter. Not only am I not Maya Angelou’s daughter, I am not a daughter at all. But you can learn a lot by reading things that aren’t intended for you. Just ask any communist government official.
One of the thought-provoking ideas shared in the book was this perspective on aging:
I am convinced that most people do not grow up. We find parking spaces and honor our credit cards. We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are still innocent and shy as magnolias. -Maya Angelou in Letter to My Daughter
I take great comfort in this perspective. As a husband and father of three children, I know I am supposed to act like an adult. In my role as the Founder and CEO of a growing business, I realize households are counting on my good decisions to help pay for things like mortgages, medicine and food. And on most days, I can pass for an amateur adult.
But on the inside, I still process the world much the way I did as a young boy. I can find innuendo and double entendres in anything. Recently I had to watch the ‘Changing Bodies’ video my 10-year-old was about to see in school. I tried to hold it together when the video depicted an animated penis erecting, but I failed miserably. Yep, I’m that guy.
But it helps to think I may not be alone. Maybe on the inside you too feel like you are still the kid you’ve always been. Maybe we all do.
Thanks for the perspective Ms. Angelou. I knew you knew why the caged bird sings. But today, I take even greater comfort in the fact that you know why I snicker during the sex education video.