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What makes an 'Old Soul?'

What makes a person an “Old Soul?”

I can’t say for sure, but here’s one of my experiences that made me realize I am one.

It’s near midnight in Germany at the Brandenburg gate in the Berlin wall. I’m there with a group of art students on a study abroad. Like tourists, we’re taking pictures, selfies and soaking everything in.

Picture of the Brandenburg Gate taken by me in 2012

Then off to the right I see some sort of sculpture. It looks like a bunch of square pillars that start out short, then grow larger and larger the deeper you go.

I walk over and read that it’s a Holocaust Memorial. Immediately sobered, I walk in. The ground slopes down as the pillars get taller and in seconds I’m dwarfed by their height. The pillars block out the street lights, and as I walk deeper and deeper, it seems that the pillars go on forever. I can’t see the end of them anywhere I look. The ground below me rises and falls in gentle hills, and it feels like an emotional roller coaster as I walk deeper and deeper into the pillars.

Never before has an art piece hit me so hard. I was overwhelmed with feelings brought on by the sheer magnitude and seemingly endless rows of pillars that represented millions of lives lost.

Then something snapped me out of the moment. A classmate had just jumped over my head. Because the pillars start out short and get taller, and aren’t spaced too far apart, it’s tempting for people to climb all over them. To play tag. To do stunts from one to the other.

I was shocked by the juxtaposition. We were on an art study abroad. And I had just had the most moving and deeply personal experience with a piece of art (and we’d gone to many museums and cathedrals while there) and my classmates were missing it! They were playing a children's game.

As I turned to walk out I found myself thinking “I’m different ...I'm not like my classmates.”

That was my first indication that I have am an ‘Old Soul.’

You have a realization like that and you look back over your life and pieces start to make sense.

I loved hanging out with my grandparents more than playing with my siblings. Old Soul.

I made friends easily with people 20-30 years older than me. Old Soul.

I was raised by parents who love books, gardening, and self-reliance. I grew up loving to work with my hands and seeing what I could build, make, and create. Old Soul.

I don’t know what makes someone an “Old Soul” but I know I am one.

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