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Funny, I just don't feel that old

Recently it has come home to me that I'm no longer young. As a matter of fact, I'm nearing the antique stage. The magic year that I never thought I'd see is approaching, and while I'm very glad I'm around, I'm not looking forward to my next birthday.

Growing up, I suppose I thought that 50 was the end of the world. But now I have children older than that.

Until now, I did not dwell on the things I would not see. But every now and then it hits me that I probably won't see my younger grandchildren's graduations, certainly not their weddings (if, indeed weddings are still to be had).

And of course there is the car. I'm driving -- today. But I know my days are numbered. I'm very careful to pull into the garage slowly and accurately, no scuff marks where the mirror and the garage door have collided. (Of course if there were, I'd swear the garage door jumped out and hit me.) So I continue to drive, but my prayer is that I quit before I'm stopped.

Aches and pains, I've had a few. I keep thinking I've got to work out again like I used to. Then I modify the thought by saying: "I've got to work out again and work up to my maximum potential."

Occasionally I consider the things that are gone forever. I can no longer climb a mountain or even walk two miles (well, maybe I can get that back ... maybe). But there are other items to be crossed off my to-do list. I haven't danced, or flirted, or run for some time now. I don't exactly remember when each item left my to-do list. But I know they are not on it any more.

On the other hand, I do spend time on the computer -- some of it on games, nonsense games. My grandson patronizes me as he shows me the right way to win a game. I have mastered the art of paying bills online, but the process scares me.

I still speak occasionally, and teach -- albeit adults, who endure my idiosyncrasies. I ran for office recently, a two-year term. I suppose that gives me the title of Eternal Optimist. I spend some time on the local college campus, but I'm treated as a relic. Doors open for me, people ask if I need help -- and frequently I do!

I don't feel old, even though my body keeps trying to convince me that I am. I have all the creaks and weaknesses that advanced age dictates, but I tell myself that those much younger than I also have these difficulties.

But every now and again my balance deserts me, as do the proper words to describe who I saw, or who she reminds me of -- you know that movie actress that starred in ... -- you remember the picture, don't you?

It amazes me that there are people who do not -- cannot -- remember where they were the day President Kennedy was assassinated. I have become used to the fact that most of the world around me does not remember ration stamps, savings stamps, Jack Armstrong, collecting at the richest home on the block to see television, probably wrestling in black and white.

But there is a mellow side to this antiquity. I'm no longer expected to run for a bus, and when I show up to parasail, people are both surprised and impressed. I seldom have to stand when there is an overflow crowd.

Because I have been chubby most of my life, wrinkles, although they are showing, are less obvious than they might be. I still have my own teeth. When I make my periodic visit to my doctor, he listens to my vitals with amazement, and announces I'm in awfully good health.

And now, sometimes when I make choices, my kids hasten to be sure my wishes are met with aplomb. The role of family senior definitely has its advantages, and I must not compare the advantages with the disadvantages.

So it behooves me to remember that life is good, and that every day is a gift, and when the time comes that I do not have another day, I can be grateful for all of them that I've had to play, work, grow, to love and be loved.

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