What You Can Learn
Well, here it is again.
I’m now 68.
How in the world did that happen?
In some ways, being 68 is scary. But overall, it’s not so bad.
My father lived to 88. My mother is still gracing this world with her lovely presence at 95. So I figure I probably still have at least 20 years left.
My life is more than 75% done. I want to make the most of that last 25%.
But the years go by so fast as you get older. Remember how long the summers were when you were a kid? Now in June, you say, “I need to get to the beach,” and before you know it, it’s September and you didn’t make it.
So I know that a season can escape before you can catch it. And so can a year. And so can 20 years.
And that’s frightening. When you retire, you tend to do less. I remember the years I worked full time and attended graduate school at night. I don’t think I ever had more productive years. Because time was so precious, I never wasted it.
But when you are retired, there can be a devaluation of your precious time. There is always tomorrow, you think, as you sit with a second cup of coffee and a third cookie.
But my tomorrows are limited. And each day I will have less of them. I need to fill them up with things I love. I want to learn everything I don’t know.
And how much can I learn in twenty years?
Why just think of what I learned in my first twenty years!
I learned to:
Talk – Walk – Use the toilet – Handle a spoon, fork and knife – Dress myself – Open doors – Run – Take a bath – Use a toothbrush – Read and Write – Sing – Dance – Pray – Jump – Sit still – Drink through a straw – Say No – Add, subtract, multiply, divide – Ride a bike – Lace sneakers – Make friends – Tell time- Tell a lie – Borrow books from the Library – Play cards – Skip rope – Turn a somersault – Use scissors – Dig in the sand – Swim – Take a test – Fight – Throw a ball – Believe in Santa Claus – Not believe in Santa Claus – Climb stairs – Climb a ladder – Climb a tree -Vacuum – Learn history, geography, and science – Ice skate – Get on the right bus – Bowl – Swear – Play the piano – Play dumb – Draw – Write a story – Write a poem – Shoot an arrow – Grow tomatoes – Sew – Type -Speak French – Like boys – Kiss – Apply makeup – Mow the lawn – Read a map – Knit – Crochet- Solve a crossword puzzle – Solve for x – Insert a tampon – Drive a car – Cook – Get a job – Use a slide rule – Pay bills – Play tennis – Camp out – Understand football – Pretend to play chess – Apply to college – Travel alone – Make love – Survive a broken heart
Oh, and two gazillion other things: There were coloring books and cap guns and monkey bars and lincoln logs and hair spray and fountain pens and skate keys and protractors and monopoly and toboggans and chemistry labs and the hokey pokey and Shakespeare and laundry and carbon paper and gas pumps and eyelash curlers and ferris wheels and combination locks and protest marches and square roots and square dances.
If that’s only scratching the surface of what I can learn in twenty years –
Bring it on, Old Age!
I’ve got plenty of time!
As always, I am posting an unretouched, non-photoshopped birthday selfie. My purpose is always twofold – to say to you, It’s not so bad getting old, and to say to Mother Nature, Screw you, I’m Not Quite Old!