“Getting older is no problem. You just have to live long enough.” – Groucho Marx
I will be fifty-six when the new year arrives. Fifty-six, four years away from, sigh sixty. I realize sixty is just a number but it is also two times more than thirty, and twenty more than forty. Yes, it is just a number but damn it’s getting to be a big number.
Both of my parents are still alive, in decent health, and still relatively active. They aren’t running marathons (they never have) but they still do some traveling, volunteer work in their community, and “old folks exercises” as my mom calls them, at the gym. My Dad, at seventy-eight, complains that he can’t work in the yard like he used too, or do this, or do that. I remind him of all the other alternatives he could be dealing with. I remind him that if he wakes up every morning and is able to put both feet on the floor and stand-up it is the start of a good day.
My “advanced” age hasn’t prevented me from doing things I used to do. I may not be able to do them as long, or as hard as I once could but that is to be expected. I didn’t like climbing up the ladder and cleaning leaves out of the gutters when I was thirty, I still don’t at fifty-five. Is it harder? Yes. Are my legs a little more shaky? Absolutely. Will there come a day when I will have no business standing on our roof with a twenty-five pound leaf blower strapped to my back? Most certainly. But I am not there yet. My wife might think I am, but I don’t.
I made some health and lifestyle changes about tens years ago, I started cycling, walking and hiking. I kind of let myself go from my early thirties to my mid-forties. Now I can ride my bicycle for sixty-five miles or go on a strenuous six-mile hike at Pisgah or DuPont. The forty-year old me couldn’t do that, honestly the forty year old me wasn’t interested in doing that and I regret that now.
So what does 2017 hold for me other than being four years closer to sixty? No clue. I hope I can start making a little more money to sock away for the future. I hope my parents stay healthy and happy, that my wife and my kids stay healthy and happy. I hope that our country will find some common ground and heal, to grow more compassionate, to take care of those citizens that need our help. I hope our new leaders will understand the weight of their responsibilities, that we are “one nation” of many colors, many beliefs, many wants and needs.
I get criticized from time to time for putting too much stock in hoping. Maybe that’s true, but there is enough hopelessness in this world. I don’t need to add to it.
“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” – Mother Teresa