“Most Likely to Die Before 21” was the running joke in high school as to where my future lay. I was eighteen when I graduated, and no one really thought I would live to see the year after high school, much less three years later.
I turn sixty-two as I write this. November the 9th is my birthday.
If you have never felt old, wait until you apply for Social Security. I applied when I could, in case it doesn’t exist anymore in a few years. My first check will be here next month. Spending my social security check is going to be epic. I have no idea what I’m going to do, but I’ll make it interesting.
More than a few people I have known in life, I have outlived. There were some surprises. Others expected. Cancer has taken more people I’ve known than any other means of death. There’s been a murder, car crashes, heart attacks, and drug overdoses, including alcohol.
People I grew up with are great grand parents now. That’s scary. People I grew up with are overweight, dying, addicted, and some are broke, too. That’s also scary, even more so than having three generations to deal with.
Since moving out here to Hickory Head, Bert, Sam, Lucas have died, and Tyger Linn was killed. I’ve been married and divorced since moving out here. I had one truck taken from in a divorce, one truck traded in for a better one, and one killed in a wreck. I’ve had the same one now for ten years.
Both my parents are alive, as are both my siblings.
I can still run a mile in nine minutes, twenty seconds.
I quit smoking in 2005.
I’ve lived long enough to see humans land on the moon, the first black president, the reunification of Germany, the eradication of Small Pox, watched a modern day plague envelope the whole world, and the Atlanta Braves win the World Series twice.
Things I am unlikely to live to see is humans landing on Mars, a woman president, the reunification of Korea, and the Atlanta Falcons winning the Super Bowl. As the Falcons are nearly one hundred games under .500 I can’t even hope to see them break even before I die of old age.
But there is always hope. Unless we can’t get climate change under control.
I worked with men who were bitter at this stage of their lives. They retired without vision or a plan, and seemed to think retirement would make them young again, but alas! This is not to be. Getting older only means you are not dead yet. It means working harder to stay alive. It means the wisdom you’ve collected over the decades might be less relevant. It means the pool of people who find you irresistibly sexy is getting smaller each year. It means watching people die, because you outlived them. But this is exactly how things are, and how they should be, and if you are smart, or stubborn, you’ll find joy in these years, and you’ll find a place of being where happiness thrives.
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.