So, I had a birthday a few weeks ago. I don’t like having birthdays, but there was little I could do about it. It wasn’t so bad; my wife and kids are always good to me on my birthdays, and the day was fun.
The only negative thing about my birthday, or about celebrating it at all was that it was just one more reminder that I am aging. I guess that’s inevitable, and better than the alternative, but still, ‘aging’? That seems like such a negative thing unless you’re wine or cheese, and I am neither. For life forms, aging is not usually a positive progression, other than if you’re five years old and can’t wait to be six, as is the case with my youngest grandchild, Nahla.
For people my age getting older is a pain, or, rather, a series of several and various pains. My joints are beginning to ache, my ankles swell, my back hurts a lot, and I have other pains I could list if you’re interested. Okay, so forget that.
Well, maybe just a few more. My knees always pop when I get up, so sneaking to the bathroom (or anywhere else) in the middle of the night is an impossibility. I also never used to get out of breath tying my shoes and didn’t have to lean against a wall to get my foot through the leg hole in my underwear without falling down. (Don’t laugh. That hurts, and you end up looking ridiculous.) I don’t stand up quickly anymore or take the stairs two or three at a time. I also don’t run … but then … I never ran. I tried it once and spilled my coffee. That won’t happen again. I do get winded easily these days, but that’s only if I move. I’m usually fine as long as I hold still.
Then there are the other reminders that I have fewer earthly days in front of me than behind me. (What an understatement.) For example, I was at a friend’s house the other day, (Yes, I have a friend) and a total stranger to me who was also visiting there reached out and picked a hair off my shoulder. He asked: “Do you have pets?” I answered that we only have a parakeet, and that they don’t have hair. “What color is the hair?” I asked. “White.” He responded. What more could I say?
And that same five-year-old granddaughter, mentioned earlier, asked me the other day if she could still come visit when she was grown up. I replied that she certainly can and needs to. She then just calmly responded: “Well, I’ll visit Grammy, ‘cause you’ll be dead.” (Out of the mouths of babes.) Little does she know that my younger looking wife is actually three weeks older than me. That’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with having a younger looking wife. Still, women live longer than men, so, I guess I WILL be dead. Oh well.
Then there was the call, on my birthday, from my NINETY-EIGHT-YEAR-OLD mother, who is more alert and spryer than I have been for years. She sang a few bars of the Happy Birthday song to me, yes, she really did, and then said, “So George, you’re starting to get some years on you, huh?” “Yes Mom,” I replied, “I guess I am.” Geezzzz.
Anyway, yes, I’m a year older, and I’m telling you that just like it was something that you were concerned about. Aging seems to happen to the best of us, and to me, too. I do take comfort in the fact that science has proven that having birthdays is good for you. It seems that the more of them you have, the longer you live.
Hey Readers: Don’t forget to check out George’s newest book, “Up on Heath Street” at Amazon.com. As with his novels, it is available in both Kindle and paperback versions. Enjoy!