My Journey To Find The Fountain of Youth
“Forever young, I wanna be forever young…”
For centuries explorers and conquerors have been in search of the ever-elusive Fountain of Youth, a magical spring that allegedly restores the vitality of youth to anyone who drinks or bathes in its pristine waters…
And what does this fountain of youth have to do with me?
A young woman 3 years removed from 30.
A person that still tries to explain away the confused looks of others when I tell them that I’m not 15 and yes, I am married.
I didn’t know how much “youth” meant to me until I realized I had a fear of getting old, an irrational fear that originated in me.
As an extremely imaginative and visual person, my stomach would churn with anxiety when I tried to imagine who I would be and what my life would look like at 50. The attempt alone would give me heart palpitations.
But my journey has revealed the source and true nature of this fountain.
My journey took me to Florida this past weekend.
Friday morning Danny and I packed up our weekend bags, picked up our car rental and made the trip down south.
We were NOT headed to St. Augustine, Florida, which is home to the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park and its artesian well that stinks of sulfur (think rotten eggs) and tastes just as bad.
Instead, we were headed to Winter Haven to celebrate with Danny’s mom for her 60th birthday.
Since the party for Danny’s mom was supposed to be a surprise we stayed at a local hotel. My parents had driven up to attend the party as well and were staying at the same hotel. They were right there to welcome us after our long drive and I was happy to see their smiling faces.
When I woke up Saturday morning Danny was already gone and I had a sweet text message assuring me he would be back soon. After making myself presentable, in true child-like manner I went and crashed the party in my parents’ hotel room. It’s not often that I get both my parents to myself so I reveled in that time.
When Danny returned the four of us went out to lunch.
The day passed quickly and soon we were on our way to surprise Mommy Maizie for her birthday.
Danny’s mom wasn’t exactly surprised but she was deeply appreciative, and it showed. Ms. Maizie had a glow about her. My dad was the M.C. for the night and I remember him saying, “This is what 60 looks like. 60 isn’t what it used to be. 60 looks good…”
It was a lovely evening.
Songs were sung in her honor. Verbal Tributes were given hailing Ms. Maizie for the wonderful woman she is. Of course the most moving of all the tributes were the ones by Danny and his sister Chennia.
I watched through eyes glazed with tears as a woman who exemplified the grace, beauty, and business savvy of Proverbs 31 was praised by her children.
As Ms. Maizie expressed her gratitude at the end of the night and spoke of her children, she recalled the words of her own mother, who often said “God has given me children as unto Abraham’s bosom.” Children who are blessed. As we were leaving Ms. Maizie received a birthday message from one of her sisters, who shared the same quote from their mother in the message.
…I didn’t realize it then know but the waters of the fountain of youth were already flowing in my direction…
Open the Fountain
The next morning my eyes opened in response to being showered with tender kisses on my shoulder.
“Good morning,” I said. My voice still groggy with the waning sleep.
“Good morning?” Came the response. “Every morning I wake up next to you is more than a good morning…It’s a good life. You’re not going anywhere.”
And all at once I was plunged into the depths of this fountain of youth.
The waters were clear and I could see the sun shining above me. I looked into reflecting depths and I saw myself growing older with the love of my life.
My heart smiled, laughed even, at the days to come. I gladly succumbed to the waters. No struggle. I simply embraced the moment with all of my soul.
The peaceful knowing stayed with me, even as we packed up and checked out of the hotel. It stayed with me as we stopped to see Ms. Maizie one more time before leaving.
The knowing heightened as my husband and I sat across from my parents for brunch before parting ways.
Memories were recounted. Stories were shared. Wisdom was imparted.
My mom’s smile and rosy cheeks told me that even after 30 years of marriage she was happy. Happy to be at brunch with her eldest child and her new son.
I can vividly remember my mom’s 28th birthday in New York. And now my parents are in their 50s. As vibrant as ever, and maybe even more so because of all they have overcome.
I wondered if their young love still felt as close to them at 50 as my teenage love affair feels to me at 26. As close as yesterday. Like last night’s dream that still feels unbelievably real…
Fountain of Youth
The fountain of youth is nothing more than a wellspring of words, passed on through the power of oral tradition.
The secret to being “forever young” is hidden in the heritage, legacy, and morals of families that will live on…forever.
Knowing where we come from - our ancestors, patriarchs and matriarchs, are heroes of our own families. Their stories have led us to this exact moment.
We are a reflection of them.
And they live on through us and will continue to live on as we will live on, through our children and our children’s children.