Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sixty-Five Years

Today I'm sixty-five years old. It is cause for reflection. Who am I? How did I get here? I look back at the past--my past--and see many times I took the road less traveled. Were those times the best decisions? Even now, I don't know.

Most children have no concept of 'old'. They can't envision a time when they won't be able to run like the wind or do somersaults or race off on their bikes. For them, climbing a tree is as exciting as taking a spaceship to the moon. When they sprawl in the grass, they don't worry about bugs or ticks. Freedom and curiosity are just abstract concepts.

Then they reach their teens. Life abruptly takes on a baffling confusion of conflicting expectations and desires. Their bodies change in weird, terrifying ways. They long to be grown up while clinging to the security of parental care.

Abruptly, they're flung into adulthood where things really get scary. Responsibility isn't just a vague concept anymore. Sex and relationships and marriage fling them into changes they're not prepared for. Suddenly, on that day they hear themselves tell their children 'Because I said so,' they realize they're becoming their parents.

And still--getting old is something that will happen way off in the distant future.

Mine is a long-lived family. My parents are in their eighties. I don't anticipate death anytime soon. And yet I'm slowing down. Crawling out of bed in the morning is accompanied by a few more groans and pains than I would like to admit. I have to swallow far more pills than I'm happy about. But life, so far, goes on.

Do I have regrets? Not many. That's a pretty good place to be at sixty-five. 

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