By the time you are reading this, I will have done the unthinkable and changed from 69 to 70!
Land sakes alive! Who would have ever thought I’d have lived this long? Who would have ever thought I’d mention being “older than dirt”? Talk about lost youth! Talk about old age!
During those early years in the canyons of home, I couldn’t even count that high, much less imagine reaching such a vast age. I just rambled among the rocks enjoying life and thinking about what the future might hold. Even then, I knew I would become a teacher, but I had no idea I would teach for 34 years and then enjoy fifteen years of retirement. Of course, I never dreamed I would teach at a university or spend a little time writing a book, or be sitting in front of a computer while writing this column. I just thought about a few possibilities and hoped I’d have a happy life.
Well, I’ve certainly had a happy life and can still laugh heartily at self and with others. Just this morning, I had a good laugh all by myself while putting on my make-up and looking at the aging face and wondering how it got into that condition. It was sort of like looking into a cracked mirror when I was young, but this time the mirror was not cracked even though the lines were present.
A number of my high school classmates and I have been commiserating about our age since last Rattler Reunion. We mentioned that most other birthdays hadn’t really bothered us, but that this one seemed unreal. We’ve written back and forth trying to cheer each other along. Those who have already hit the magic number have assured the rest of us that we won’t feel any older than we did the day before, but they surely didn’t tell us we would feel any younger either. One even sent me a beautiful little booklet she had made. It is filled with quotations about old age. Mark Twain struck a chord when he wrote, “When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it’s a sure sign your getting old.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “A woman is always startled when she hears herself seriously called old for the first time.” In that case, I have been old for a very long time because my students thought I was antique although I was only three years older than some of those first ones at Forrest. I remember feeling that I needed a cane while teaching here when the students were talking about some old person aged 25, and I had just reached that age. I’ll bet that none of those wonderful students thought we would be in our sixties at the same time, but I have had the opportunity to welcome some of them with a smile. Of course, they still think I’m an ancient, and I am!
I may not be able to climb around in those canyons any more, but I surely can sit on a bluff and dream of good times. Although those early dreams were about the future and many and many of these later dreams are about the past, they have both been most pleasant and been privileged to have so much for which to be thankful and have had much fun going from one decade to the next. I can still stand fairly tall and look the world in the eye while trying to accomplish something that seems impossible at the moment. I never did get in a big rush to do anything; thus, I really haven’t slowed down very much. I think I’ll just keep moseying along and enjoying each day.