Mary Lou Retton turns 50 today.
Take that in for a minute, Mary Lou Retton turns FIFTY today. Feel old? I do!
When I think of Mary Lou Retton I think of a young pixy flipping across the floor of an Olympic stadium in Los Angeles in 1984. I certainly don’t think of a woman who steps through the half century mark, but as I tell myself all the time, 50 is the new 35.
As I contemplate Mary Lou’s place in history, punctuated in 1984, it makes me think about other people and places that are stuck in time and I wonder what makes something timeless.
Isn’t it funny how we remember things from our youth and they never get old, even when we continue to age? Kristy McNichol is still a teenager, John Travolta still wears a white suit, parachute pants still look amazing and Carl Lewis still runs a sub 10 second 100 meters.
Logically I know that these moments in time are stuck as they were when they happened because the participants are no longer on my radar.
This frozen in time scenario hit home for me yesterday. I ran into a guy I graduated high school with, I had not seen him since the day we left the school gymnasium in our caps and gowns.
I knew who he was immediately, although he was 40 plus years older, he still looked like the same skinny kid I had known. Me on the other hand, well I have changed, what little hair I have left is very grey and my waistline has grown exponentially.
As we stood there talking, he said “if I hadn’t heard your name I would have never known it was you.” I laughed it off, but understood where he was coming from. His memories of me stood still at our High School graduation, just like mine have for so many old friends, co-workers, former loves and family members. When we are removed from each other’s lives the memories keep us where we last met in time.
While it is fun to look back on these moments in time, for me, it brings up one of life’s great mysteries. Something that I think about as I get older.
When we get to heaven, will the people we love the most still be how we remembered them last, will they age or will their presence be a “spirit” that we recognize but has continued to move on in their lives?
While I will be happy to be reunited with those I love, I do wonder…. how will they be?
Will my brother, who died at 16, still be that youthful teenager? Will my mom be her 78-year-old frail self, or the vibrant woman she was before her health failed her? Will my dad remain the “Coach” he was in life or will his presence continue to age?
Like our memories of youth and the memories of those who have passed on, I am confident that the time we have to renew those relationships will be special no matter how they present themselves.
As time goes by our hearts can be filled with memories, until we meet again.