Thursday, April 7, 2011
Will You Still Need and Feed?
Dealing with age is something that has never been particularly difficult for me. Like most people, I usually wanted to be older. That changed when my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer when I was 16. High School was full of the usual adolescent hopes, fears, and confusion, but in hindsight, I sense that I was forced to grow up a bit earlier than my peers. Too many responsibilities that my friends just didn't have yet. At 22, with graduation from college, I left home. I knew I would never return and felt a bit of guilt because my father was left alone in the family home. Still, I could and would not live there because I wanted to break away from L.A. and many of the people and the geography that was all I knew.
My father lived ten more years. I visited regularly and even offered him many opportunities to move closer to me as began my career in the Bay Area. I have no doubt, though I am well aware that I could be wrong, that I will outlive my parents in all probability. My peers are grappling with getting older in various ways. From surgery to hair loss or color to just plain acting inappropriately, they struggle. I try to stay healthy, try to embrace what I consider to be the logical physical changes that go with age, and marvel at how I seem to have fooled some of my new friends who think I'm a bit younger than I really am. The latter is probably the case because I tend to hang out with younger folks like the people in my writing group or the student teachers I mentor. Of course, I have older friends. Many, like me, are physically mature but think youthful thoughts. Thoughts like try not to resist change, be careful about being too judgmental, and realize that this is a different world than the one our youth inhabited.
This morning I awoke with a certain Beatles song in my head.
"When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now...
Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greeting, bottle of wine....
Today is a good day to be 64. I have an answer to those questions.