A Few Words About Being an ‘Old Soul’

I cannot quite remember when I first came to think that maybe I am one. I guess I had already heard it a couple of times from several people older than me, as well as noticed that I just cannot invest myself in some things that people my age were obsessing about. First, I noticed that I enjoyed being different – of being able to define myself by terms other than being a typical teenager of my age. Second, I noticed that I had always become distressed when facing development that seemed to move too fast for me, as well as trends that kept on changing daily. My friends had phases of liking things, new songs, artists, movies, series – and the phase could last only for a month or a week, something that was unthinkable for a person of high level of commitment and tenacity. Third, I realized I was more interested in what has been than what is. Yes, I think I had become what one might call an Old soul.

I checked what the people at Urban Dictionary had to say about the concept, and the answers varied from the recognizable and reasonable to the typical troll answer that old souls are annoying know-it-alls and killjoys. One pseudonym nevertheless managed to warm my heart by writing that an Old soul may seem like they don’t like you, but the truth is that they are simply not that interested in people and one shouldn’t be startled over that.

This is something I think I recognize around myself, that people tend to think that old souls, especially if somewhat introvert, are also judgmental, and thus come off as cold and unfriendly. Judgmental – maybe in some cases, but the word I would like to use is critical. I see the old soul as someone who is critical about the current structures and trends in the society, which doesn’t always mean that they yearn for something that used to be. Because the optimal world never existed, and most people realize that. In that sense, the term ‘old’ is somewhat misleading. It’s terribly difficult to be interested in things that are in the future (as in not yet happened), so people like me tend to be interested in the things of the past. Being critical or reserved in the face of latest phenomena easily translates into being critical or judgmental towards other people, even though the commentator means no harm.

In my case, what I call ‘Old Soul’, in search for better expression, doesn’t mean disregarding everything that is new or aimed at audiences my age or younger. It means defying what is expected of a person of your age and background. I do not check Instagram daily. I am not that interested in recent comedy made for young adults, because I don’t recognize myself in it. And when I say that I often listen to old music, I mean old music, not something from 2005. However, I don’t think that everything used to be better, quite the contrary. The social developments of the recent decades, especially when it comes to equality and human rights, have made our world a better place for everyone, and a lot still remains to be done. I don’t disregard technical development either, but I only wish it was always used to promote greater good.

Also, even defining myself like this feels funny, because we people are not that black-and-white. Like others my age, I also feel nostalgia for the early 2000’s, and I am interested in current trends that have the capacity of making the world a better place, such as green products, environmentalism and veganism. I am simply not that easily enticed about everything that is trending, and I don’t always have the eagerness to be as socially responsive as possible.

I don’t think this lot is only about stubbornness, but obstinance does play a role in it. I think many people have experienced the phenomenon of getting bored by social media. But if you don’t take any action and let your life be affected by the said media as usual, you perhaps lack the interest, commitment to your own case or high level of frustration it takes to swim against the tide. If one is stubborn and has a tendency towards introversion, it is more likely that they feel connected to the concept of old soul. If you feel like you don’t want to share everything you do with other people, and you are even less thrilled about reading or seeing everything someone else does and get the feeling that you should feel guilty about all this – you just might be one of us.

I am not complaining, however, because I don’t feel like the world does me any wrong. If I wanted to, I could try to be more like everyone else. Here I simply want to make a point that, if you recognize some of yourself in this text, remember that you are not a killjoy, for that is always a subjective estimation. You are rare, special, tenacious and most likely intensely patient.