ailments with this preface: “As we get older, . . . .”
My memory isn’t what it used to be because I have so much to remember. Compare 25 years of memories to 70 years of memories. Seniors sift through nearly three times as many file drawers of memories as those twentysomethings do, just to pluck out the desired 3- by 5-inch card. And that card might be frayed, water-damaged and smudged. It may be full of erasures, cross-outs and revisions.
No wonder young people are quick.
I’ve entered the phase of my life where for hair, grey is the new black and for skin, wrinkles are the new laugh lines. I have a different perspective when I view the world. Not such a bad perspective, either. It’s wider. I have experience to draw on (even though it takes a while to dredge up details). I think I am more tolerant and accepting because of this experience.
I remember when pre-war meant before 1941; when sleeping on the floor was fun; when feeding the birds was considered enabling; when 9 out of 10 doctors smoked Lucky Strikes; and when babies were supposed to be put to sleep on their little tummies. They looked so cute with their knees drawn up, their spindly little legs curled under those fat, diapered bottoms, their little hands curled into fists.
I remember junior high school civics books that
showed pictures of “prosperous” cities with belching smokestacks and sprawling factories.
When I was a teenager, being crazy and wild meant driving the wrong way on a one-way street, smoking unfiltered cigarettes (over-the-counter varieties like Lucky Strikes or Camels), deliberately littering or getting stuck with an objectionable nickname – one that started with a W, like Wicked or Wildman or Wiley Coyote.
Surely, you know you're getting old when your body betrays you. I used to do a cartwheel on my birthday. No more. I used to skip down (or up) the middle of a flight of steps, two steps at a time. Now I go straight to the railing. I used to “hop”out of bed in the morning. Now it feels more like I’m unfolding crumpled parchment.
I recently read – or heard -- or got an email (can’t remember which) about how you can tell you’re getting older. Then again, maybe Andy Rooney said it. I miss him.
“You know your body is getting old,” it goes,
“when everything that is supposed to be moist dries up and everything that is supposed to be dry, leaks.”
That sums it up.