Ladies and gentlemen, youth seekers of all kinds, the fountain of youth might be hidden within this story of such a man. I know I know, I usually stick with articles on yummy recipes I can photograph; but sometimes a good story is better than a smoothie. Chock full of nutrients in a wordy kind of way. Let me introduce to you a little story / profile about the creator of this website as well as some other websites (Miniature Review and Antique Outings). Great sites to check out if you’re a gamer nerd or an antique specifically mantique junkie. He’s a freak of nature and I love him. Introducing, if you don’t already know him…TOM.
Tom is freakishly youthful. He’s freakishly content with his outlook on life. His friends know it. I know it. He knows it. Strangers get shocked when they find out he just turned 50. He looks thirty-four, except when his slightly graying whiskers poke through. Then he looks forty-one maybe. “Remember when that couple once said to me that they wanted to punch me in the face for looking so young, but wouldn’t because I’m a nice guy?” It’s true. This was said to him. It’s true; he’s a nice guy.
We’re biking around town when I begin asking questions. He’s patient with me as I fumble for the questions to roll off my tongue. He has no idea where this interview is going or what will be asked of him. While at a stoplight, I ask him how he feels around people his age who obviously look their own age or older. Before he responds, I also ask him how he feels about being the oldest of his friends. I can hear him swallow and his eyes search for something, anything. I also swallow uncomfortably in search for a different question and his eyes show a little concern. Yet, there’s a mischievous glimmer upon him. “Are you trying to make me feel old? You think I’m old”. The light turns green and he smiles with a wide grin and peddles onward, excited and proud on his new sporty mountain bike.
We arrive at an outdoor café and he quickly grabs a table, sits and folds his arms around his waist. I’ve been married to him for two years and have known him for four; and I’ve never seen him with folded arms. The waiter arrives with our waters and he gulps it down and goes immediately in for a refill. I laugh and assure him I’m not looking to make him feel old and he lights up with big wide eyes when I ask him what he thinks keeps him so youthful. He puts down the glass of water and adjusts his posture and sits tall for a moment before relaxing into his chair again.
“Sweat. Lots of sweat.”
Tom is an active guy. He’s been that way as long as he can remember. He’s played soccer as a kid, running track in high school, rowing, karate, aikido, cycling, swimming, triathlons, marathons, ironmans and a 100 mile running race in the Colorado Mountains.
He stops fidgeting with his glass of water and napkin as his eyes draw in at something that can only be seen by him.
He goes on to explain to me that it’s not the actual race itself that he likes, but instead “It’s the training process. I LOVE the chase. I like starting something and finding a target. A goal I can focus in on. If I’m running, I find a victim to chase down and they challenge me to give it my all. When I pass them, I know satisfaction. I think I have the tenacity to stick with something until it’s complete.” We’re both silent for a moment and whatever invisible, internal thing he was staring at earlier disappears. “And that is the word of the day.” Another big childlike grin shines on his face. He repeats it again, “Tenacity.”
His dedicated pursuit of athletics keeps him young, but I don’t think that’s all. My curiosity digs deeper. I ask him about this “tenacity”. He perks up his spine and his hands create a vivid gesture as if holding onto a tiny object, then a larger object; a constantly changing object.
“Gaming. Miniatures. Microphones. Bayonets. I have so many hobbies that satisfy me.”
He talks about his mini obsession of collecting “mantiques” and how he loves to research them and collect miniatures for gaming and he gets the same feeling from all his hobbies. At home there are shelves full of vintage microphones, a box of bayonets, a closet packed with gaming miniatures. Whenever he plays with these hobbies, I see his eyes delightfully focus in on that zone that is only his.
His eyes transfix to this special place of his again. “Whatever the hobby, project or race, there’s got to be mental focus, tenacity, satisfaction, and it’s got to be attainable, otherwise you’re just chasing rainbows and if that’s the case, then there’s just…” He interrupts his serious internal stare with an impish strike of ingenious as his shoulders move side to side to the rhythm of what he was saying. “No satisfaction, can’t get no.” He hums the Rolling Stones and tells me one last thing. “I think it might also be humor that keeps me young.
After that, I have a strangely silly feeling as though I too, would like to punch him in the face.
Cheers to your youth all you kiddos out there! Young and Old, inside and out. It truly is of the heart and mind.
*The day after I wrote this Tom and I met a random and lovely couple who happen to be Dr and Nurse and researchers of longevity and harnessing youthfulness. Needless to say, once they found out Tom’s age, their eyes popped out and jaws clunked to the floor. Sure enough the nurse had a humorously clenched fist and a punchy comment exclaiming her disbelief and her Dr. Husband (such a wonderful mad scientist type) chimed in, “My God, we’ve got to get a sample of your stool!” The nurse picked her jaw up off the floor and spoke. “You’re sitting on a gold mine and you don’t even know it. People would pay you fortunes for your poo!!!”