Well, another year has flown by. They seem to move faster now that the kids are grown and gone. We used to measure time by what the kids were doing: She was in seventh grade; He played baseball that summer. But now, there is no measurement. Days just slip by and another year is gone. How strange.
As I grow older, I have mixed feelings of both peace and sadness. Peace that I don’t have to impress, climb the ladder, drive the perfect car, live in the perfect neighborhood. Sadness that so many things are now out of my control. When you’re young, anything is possible. All you have to do is decide where you want to go, how you want to live, who you want to hang out with, and it can happen. When you age, you don’t have as many choices. I will never run for president, join the military, or become Miss America. Not that I was going to do any of those things anyway, but it’s sad to have the choices involuntarily taken from me.
As you age, it seems life both contracts and expands at the same time. It contracts due to the lack of options but expands due to the growing number of family, friends, hobbies. In my case, the lack of options for the future has been replaced with an obsessive determination to get everything done. Now. I think I’m running out of time and there are not enough hours in the days.
My mother, father, and grandmother all died in their fifties, and I always thought I would too. Well, if that’s true, I’d better get busy doing all the things I want to do, because I’m quickly moving closer and closer toward the end. It’s not really a morose thought, just a simple fact like, “Hey, better run to the store and get toilet paper.”
Aging is a very strange thing. This ring was once put on the finger of a beautiful young woman with the world at her feet and the dreams of being a wife and mother shining in the distance. Though the skin has wrinkled and the dreams have, over the decades, become reality, that young heart is still beating inside. The things that were once important – getting that promotion, cutting the grass, holiday shopping – have been replaced with the simple act of spending time with the ones you love. Period. Some family and friends are younger, some are older, some are your lifelong companions. You never know which ones will still be here on your next birthday. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. That’s the most interesting thing about aging – the finality of it all.
Love everybody and tell them so today.