Life goes faster over the hill, they say. Clearly, my body saw that coming and voted against it.
As I motored along (at a decent pace) over the freeway of mid-life, some molecular process within me tapped the brakes and flicked on the blinker. Looking for the scenic route, no doubt. Perhaps a long curving exit ramp.
It began just past my half-century mark. Flat parts got round, round parts got flat and smooth parts began wrinkling. Worst of all, things that used to stay up and in without a fuss, (hair and teeth for starters) began arguing.
Then I heard myself saying things like elephant instead of element and castration instead of frustration.
I also noticed (with more than an elephant of castration) that stuff that took minutes in my forties takes many more in my fifties.
These days, my evenings, once my most creative time of day, are often little more than supper, dishes and a few mandatory chores — all accompanied by yawns, rabid clock-watching, and a deep gulp of slow.
I can’t even order off most seniors’ menus yet, but some days I feel as though old age has marched out to meet me. “How’d we get this way?” I asked the Preacher the other day, as we dragged our limp selves into bed. “Who kicked us into old?” I sounded angry, and at that moment, I was.
He chuckled. “The pirates and beasts, probably.” True, his medical romps with West Nile and cancer have changed our lifestyle. But up with the birds, and down with the sun? We’re too young for that. Besides, I don’t see it working well in winter. My boss may complain.
Two well-aged men with great perspectives have recently reminded me how important it is to keep a great attitude, and a forward look.
Recently Stuart MacLean, on his radio show, The Vinyl Cafe, interviewed a ninety-some year old Arthur Award winner from Cape Breton. “Tell me, Angus,” he said, “what did you like better about the old days?”
Angus barely paused. “Dare were sam tings good, ‘n sam tings bad,” he said. “T’all evens up, I tink. Dem were doze days, and deez ‘r deez days.”
Angus had great attitude. The Apostle Paul did too, but he matched it with a great faith. “Forgetting what lies behind,” he said to the Philippians (my paraphrase), “I reach forward to grasp all the good God has waiting.”
Lord, give us boldness enough to let go of the old good, trust enough to seek out the new good, and hope enough to believe in your highest good. Amen.