Alas! the fleeting years how they roll on. Horace
All at once, I awoke one morning and those so-called euphemistic, golden years attacked me like a thief in the night.
In this youth oriented world, I knew I would have to don a suit of armor and forge ahead with a smile through this safari expedition because it's much better than the alternative.
However, there are a few things for which I have to clench my teeth. One of those clinchers is the overwhelming curiosity of age.
Hardly trying to be subtle, the first questions asked by a new acquaintance are "When did you graduate high school?" and "How long have you been married?"
If those questions can be satisfactorily sidestepped, there is always another stab at it further into the conversation: "How old are your kids?"
(My kids have been so many different ages that I don't remember what I have told whom and can hardly remember their correct birth dates.)
I always think of the answer my aunt gave who, by the way, danced the tango beautifully at a dance contest in Switzerland when she was past 90, "Why do you want to know?"
Another speed bump along this road is a reminder from baby boomers or the X generation that they weren't around during certain events casually brought up in conversations.
I once made the mistake of mentioning Watergate to a person who instantly quipped, "Oh! That was before I was born."
First of all, I didn't know Watergate was an age-related subject. I thought of it as part of history -- not our most proud moments in history - but, nevertheless, history.
My response was, "Gee, I'm trying to remember what I was doing the day Lincoln was shot. I think I was sitting at the spinning wheel. "
I am also amazed at the names I have suddenly acquired such as "sweetie" and "honey."
However I can tolerate those, especially from people who use the terms with all ages, but I draw a line when I'm addressed as "young lady." They know I'm not a young lady, and I know I'm not a young lady, so don't humiliate me.
Fortunately, baby-boomers are rapidly arriving on the cusp of maturity -- the age of retirement -- and will no doubt incite a revolution in the way society looks at aging.
One of their philosophies is 50 is a young 40 and 40 is now 30. I guess we can zip our lips and bid our time until they realize reality. Numbers remain numbers.
However, plastic surgeons can do wonders for the aging process, and that is wonderful. I'm not knocking it.
Hopefully, attitudes will also shift in recognizing and accepting this natural part of life's cycle by not treating it as a dreadful and contagious disease but a part of life that - with good health - can be fulfilling and even fruitful.
Youth is wonderful, and those years fly too quickly, many times unappreciated while we constantly look ahead attaining other goals. As the ancient poet Virgil said, "Optima dies ... prima fugit," (the best days are the first to flee).
However, I will also do everything to enjoy these years. I will eat my usual eight almonds a day, continue working crossword puzzles, read a lot of books, walk each day, buy the latest wrinkle potions - even though I haven't seen an iota of difference from using the last six - and hopefully write more columns for the Greene County Daily World.
Most of all, I will enjoy and thank God each day for my wonderful family and continue to be ecstatic over their achievements and support them when they encounter problems.
In the meantime, I'm looking forward to dancing the tango when I'm 90.