As I grow older, I see things through different eyes.
My mind’s eye sees a man of indeterminate age. Someone who has all the thoughts and feelings of his youth, who is unrestrained in thinking about the world, and who brings his decades of experience and knowledge into that mind’s eye.
My physical eye sees a man who is balding, jowly, grey, and wrinkled. Someone who, after what seems to be a few short years, has become one of the growing number of “senior citizens”. Someone whose body aches and whose mind wanders and wishes for a night where sleep was a restful experience rather than a marathon of wakefulness and trips to the bathroom.
Truthfully, I’m a little annoyed!
How in hell did I get here so fast?
My Aunt Doris Shaw, along with other members of my mother’s family, sent an audio tape to my mom well over 55 years ago. Each person spoke at the gathering, wishing us well, and Aunt Doris said a poem that has stayed with me.
“You’re not growing old when your hair turns gray and your not growing old when your teeth decay but you’re fast approaching that last long sleep when your eyes make a date your body can’t keep!”
I thought it was pretty funny at the time. Now, maybe not so much.
I like the opening line of the Robert Browning poem above. The whole line goes “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made.” I can question the “best is yet to be” but in so many ways it’s true.
We can look back at the innumerable events in our lives and we can better understand how those events made us who we are today. No more molding of the human clay. We’re pretty well set in whoever we were meant to be. By and large, I believe we can take some solace in that.
Do I really want to go back to being 18 again as Ray Price sings? No, I don’t. But there is a lot of truth in the words.