“Neither Old nor Young”

You keep an open mind

Shining like the sun

Light the sea light the sky

Neither old nor young

You wanted to be free

Now you’re free to run

Free to live free to love

Neither old nor young

What if I were bold

And crossed into your light

Do you think that would that be alright?

Out there in the cold

Nothing stands a chance

All I’ve ever known are broken plans

Luck is on your side

But do you know which one

Destiny or design?

Neither old nor young

Neither old nor young

Neither old nor young

  • Kandace Springs and Jesse Harris

My birthday is next week, and I am “neither young nor old”. I can’t believe how much time has passed since I was a young girl. I remember that I was always thinking. I used to watch people and wonder what it must be like to be who they are. I never actually wanted to be them, because I was so different from them. Yet, I wondered what exactly made them tick.

My childhood friends were always worried about boyfriends and being a cheerleader. I really wasn’t. I didn’t want a boyfriend, I wanted someone different than the boys in my school. I wanted someone like James Taylor to walk into my life. Someone who could put together words in a magical way, and then put them to music. Someone who understood the highs and lows of life. A life beyond a sideline at a football game. Someone who thought about the bigger picture of life. I thought about those things a lot. The whys of sorrow, and the hows of joy.

As I grew up, I was always searching for something, but not sure what it was. I eventually became content with my own style. I still wondered about people. There were always those people who would look in my eyes and smile. For a moment, they made me feel that I mattered. Then there were the people who spoke at me, but never really saw me. I hated how that made me feel. So I decided that, when I spoke to people, I would look in their eyes and smile. I wanted them to know that I really saw them. I saw all kinds of people in my hometown. I would look in the eyes of the socially affluent, or “the big fish in a little pond”, and the hired help who never knew there was a pond. I looked in the eyes of the developmentally disabled, because my sister is also developmentally disabled. They loved knowing I saw them, because they were invisible to the majority of most people. I often wondered what invisibility would feel like.

My mom was “the person” in my life; she always looked into my eyes. I grew up understanding the sorrow of watching a disabled child struggle. Watching my mom console a broken heart. I wondered what it would be like to have a broken heart, and yet give your magic to mend someone else’s broken heart. I watched with a keen eye. I knew that at some point, I would want to be able to give of myself in that way. So I did. I was always available to soothe a broken heart.

I married and followed my husband from city to city in search of his desired climb to success in corporate America. After years of infertility, a perfect son joined our family. My energy was always like my mom’s, caring for someone else. As my son, with his special genius, began opening doors for me. He talked about innovation and people who change the world. People who live life for a purpose. He talked about Elon Musk and Steve Jobs. I listened and wondered what it would be like to be them. To feel enough courage to step out there, even if they might fail. I wondered if I could ever be that brave.

So the years passed, I knew my life was going by and life was racing by. In the midst of my family’s greatest hardship, my husband unemployed for the first time, I knew what I wanted to do. I want to make sure that no student feels invisible. I want students to have a safe place to explore and self-discover their “why”. I have continued to have struggles. I lost my mom to dementia after watching her fade away. Her eyes became blank, her mind confused. I have struggled to find the team members I need. I have been scammed. I have been ignored. I have been laughed at. I have watched as family and friends have denied me support. But I continue on. I am on a journey, a journey I believe is mine. I am a late bloomer. I see the world through young eyes, even though my friends say they feel old. Ageism may hurt me, but it will not stop me. Because somewhere, someday, I will meet someone who will truly look me in the eyes and smile. Someone who will say the magic words, “I believe.” In that moment, I will have the chance to change a little bit of the world. I will be able to truly look students in the eyes and smile, and at that moment they will know they matter.

I am “Neither old, nor young.” “Luck is on my side, but do I know which one, destiny or design?” So if you see me and wonder what it feels like to be me, just know that after all this time, “I feel free to run.” Maybe time and maybe life bring you to where you are supposed to be…perhaps it is a kind of destiny.

I love this song. Listen.