I woke up to a white world this morning. The first snow fall is always magical and takes me back to my childhood when winter was just a pile of days and weeks in which to skate and toboggan and make snow angels, instead of being the interminably long period of time it is now. The concept of time changes drastically as you age.When you are young you never believe that you will grow old. It is something that will happen to other people, not you.
As you grow up you begin to accept that you likely will grow old but later, much, much later. Certainly not now, in the prime of your life! You will be active! You will be positive! Aging can be delayed, postponed, put off for decades!
In your middle years you can no longer hide some of the signs that start to creep into your daily life; a bad back, crow’s feet, having to wear reading glasses. For women, the big one is grey hair, which is like a neon sign, seemingly telling the world that you are no longer in your prime. Some say that gray hair makes you invisible.
Your kids grow up, your friends start to have ailments, some of them serious. Your parents begin to need extra help with certain chores and the mirror offers you proof on a more regular basis that you are aging. The hope, at this point, is that you’ve acquired a bit of wisdom along the way, and a life philosophy to guide you, otherwise this stage can be positively frightening.And then you arrive at what I call the invisible timeline. Once crossed, and that happens when you least expect it, you cannot ever go back. From that demarcation point onwards, you see everything in a different light. You may feel youthful but your youth is behind you. You may be healthy but illness is no longer an abstract. You may look great for your age but energy levels have changed. At best, that knowledge is a very sobering nanosecond, one in which you look in the mirror and see whatever is your truth; you will never become a brain surgeon , never again fit into a size 8, never recapture wasted moments….and yes, those really are your jowls looking back at you.
Mercifully, once this sobering act is over you are free to live your life as you see fit. Mother Nature (or is Father Time??) help you settle into your new mindset, one in which you clear a lot of mental debris in order to make room for new priorities. It’s a long process, hopefully one that will take many years to complete. With all that clutter gone from your mind, you are free to enjoy small pleasures without guilt.
The snow is still coming down but I am nice and warm sitting in my living room. I think I will read my magazine, the one with Tony Bennett on the cover. At 85, he has just recorded a new album…