First of all, when I was younger, say, around 40, I couldn’t even imagine the 70’s. Guess what? Here I am within a year of being done with the 70’s!

When I was a kid, people I knew who were in the 70’s were old. Some women and fewer men even reached the 70’s. To tell the truth, not much has changed. Except, that is, now it’s me who is the old person of record. And quite happy to be so, I might say.

It happens while you sleep. It’s subtle. You’re not thinking of it and one day you realize your next birthday is a very large number. People say stuff like, you’re not old, you’re just seasoned. I want to tell that person to perform an unseemly, if not appropriate, but arguably impossible sexual act upon his or her self. I do try to be kind. I really like the one where someone tells me that I am so many years young. Who’s hiding from reality here? Oh, and the all time favorite: age is a state of mind. No Honey, age is a number. It has always been a number and it will always be a number, no matter what state your mind is in.

I never thought I’d be here now, so every day is an adventure. It’s actually the best time of my life. I must confess that so far, knock on wood, I have reasonably good health and can do most of what I want to do. I love that line in CS Lewis’ delightful little book “Letters to an American Lady” where he talks about not being able to take his beloved hikes in the countryside anymore, and how, strangely, his desire to do so has diminished. It happens: where ability diminishes, desire seems to wane as well.

It is true that my range of movement is significantly reduced. My endurance is catastrophically reduced. I seldom have a day without some pain and stiffness where once I was as lithe and limber as a green twig. Many things I once did without even thinking now require extensive planning or complicated detours. However, the things I am able to do bring me great satisfaction. By any calculation, my life is good. I am, indeed, a lucky man.

What really gets me is the knowledge that I really am playing in the fourth quarter and soon the two minute warning will sound. I think of things like final arrangements, do not resuscitate documents, updated wills, and taking care of the disposition of all my old porn movies. Wouldn’t want them to show up and tarnish the shine on my spotless character, now would I? Any takers?

I really don’t think about this as much as it sounds. It just comes up late in the evening when the shades of melancholia hover over my shoulder. I guess what I am saying is that once I never thought of the end of things, and now – guess what? Oh, I know, I could live a long time. If I do, I’ll welcome each morning with a smile and a groan as I try to get out of bed. I’m just acknowledging a little reality here folks. It’s the kind of stuff they say healthy people should do.

The substance of life, as I think of it, is not how long I’ve lived, or what I believe about God or politics, or where I’ve been and what I’ve seen, or the short list of my accomplishments. It is, rather, the faces and embraces, the warm humanity, that have become the real substance of my life. And I have you to thank for that. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

1 Comment

  1. i agree with sean, great post. the state of mind thing though….o.k. i’ll go along with that too. after all, i have forgiven you for that whole Dr.Pepper situation back when i was yadhp.s.donate the porn…maybe to your local republican party? or democratic party, there pretty much the same up there.

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