Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them. – Dion Boucicault
The golden years seem to have been thrust upon me much too soon. It is not reasonable that I and so many, have to tolerate aging while youth is being wasted on the young. When I was a teenager, like any other dark, morbid, moody teenager, I never thought I would make it this far. I bragged to fellow teens that I would be dead by the time I reached thirty. It was the thing to say then, very avant-garde. Once I reached that inevitable number, the bragging did not stop but the number changed to fifty. Now I’ve moved it up to eighty, perhaps the final number. The number I fear the most above all others. It is the number that places me upon the shortest of all paths. Whenever I see an elderly person– white hair, wizened and stooped, shuffling past– I think of the film, Dead Man Walking
Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough. – George Bernard Shaw
When my mother was alive and in an assisted living home, every time I called her and asked her how she was doing she would answer, “just waiting to die, dear.” I would say something witty or chastise her for being dreary. She died last year at the age of 99. She never anticipated living so long. There was no dignity in the last years of her life. Everything was taken away from her: hearing, eyesight, mobility and her health. It was almost as if she was de-evolving: folding in on herself until she was but a small pile of dried bone. It seems to me that is the human condition: aging to the point of welcoming death. Aging wouldn’t be so bad if you have your health. I realize it’s a cliché but from what I’ve seen it is a fact. I moved to Florida last year. There are a lot of elderly people here. Floridians call their state Heaven’s waiting room. I had Stage III cancer and endured a great deal to beat it. It has left me disabled. I feel as though I’m retired and so, I fit right in, except I’m usually the “youngster” in the doctor’s waiting room. For awhile I wondered if there were any children at all in Florida. It was beginning to get a bit Twilight Zonish, if you know what I mean. Before cancer I had an active life as a biological anthropologist. My best friend, who survived Catholic girls school with me, would talk about how we would retire together. We’d live in Florida by the Gulf and chase pool boys in our wheel chairs. We would be “dirty old women”. Now I’m here by the Gulf but she won’t be coming. She died from cancer. I have yet to chase a pool boy.
Time moves in one direction, memory in another. – William Gibson
I think each generation lays claim to being the better generation, or at least, a simpler time and at the same time claiming they had it harder. When I look back, I’m reminded of all those road trips my folks made me suffer through. Yet, every one of those trips were for my benefit. I played outside except rainy days I was inside, reading or watching movies on our black and white TV, such as Abbott and Costello, or Francis the talking mule. My folks and I would play board games or cards. My father would construct my school projects. My mother would bake for the bake sales and sew costumes for me for the school plays in which I performed. For eight years she dragged me to tap dancing and ballet lessons. There were extravagant recitals on the Masonic Temple’s massive stage. My generation’s “pop culture” went from Beatniks to Beatles to hippies and the Viet Nam War. I’ve seen the first astronaut ride a rocket and the first humans on the moon. And, I was at Woodstock.
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. – John Lennon
We didn’t have the technological advances then that we have now. Kids used to play outside most of the time. Now kids rely on computers and cell phones; video games and cable TV to occupy them. Kids are under pressure to keep up with technology, from their schools and peers. Yes, I can affirm that I grew up in a simpler time. It would have been nice to have had a laptop and printer through high school and college, and I do enjoy video games. But I wouldn’t trade my childhood for any of it. My parents expended a lot of middle-aged/senior energy into making me a well-rounded person. I never thanked them for the effort they put into raising me.
Lost time is never found again. – Benjamin Franklin