Monday, August 7, 2006

The Eye of the Beholder

Here we are, suddenly finding ourselves on the short end of the stick of life. We still believe ourselves to be the same two people we were the other day when we married. Our minds tell us that we are just as good as ever. Then, we arise from our easy chairs and find the first couple of steps to be difficult, because the joints have stiffened up when we weren't looking. The mirror holds still more surprises. When did that seventeen year old girl become a grandmother? When I was young and the children were little, the days were longer and the years went by more slowly. Now they fly past in a blur and I am afraid that I will miss something in this fast paced world. I read in another blog that the elderly are funny to watch with all our little foibles. I beg your pardon! I am seventy, not elderly. I thought my conversation had kept up with the rest of the people being held in place by the Earth's gravity. I have to snicker to myself when I hear a younger person (perhaps 40ish or 50ish) talking about their parents, as though they had lost their marbles in a crap shoot. We have forgotten more than they have learned much of the time. Young people will be amazed at how quickly the time goes between fifty and seventy and how badly they will wish they could hold back life's final curtain. Every day is a gift and we really love opening that gift every day.
Since we have retired from the working world, we live half the year in a condominium in Ohio and the other half in a candominium in Florida. (Candominium being a tincan in a doublewide park full of old people) Yeah, I'll admit that some people get old, not just in their bodies, but in their thought processes, too. The ladies who walk their poodles in baby strollers do catch a raised eyebrow from me and the non-golfers who buzz about in their golf carts are a real trip. But, I know I get the same reaction when I strap on my rollerblades and take a couple of laps around the park. They probably have 911 on speed dial and are anxious to see the men in white coats catch me in their butterfly nets. It is getting harder and harder to live those six months among the people who play Bingo on Wednesday nights at 6:30 and are home promptly at 8:00 for a nice early bedtime at 9:30. My lights burn into the night as I play on the computer or read or watch the medical channel, while the rest of the park is in total darkness. One thing I can say for these lovely over 55ers --- they get out of bed by 6:00 and have done their daily walking exercise, while I am still snoozing lazily in bed.
The best part of Florida is the trip to and from in the proper season. The world we see is ever changing and so beautifully made. Interstate 75 is as familiar as the back of my hand, but there is always a freshly mowed field of wheat, a country church with the sun shining on the steeple or one of those wonderful old, wooden barns to admire. Most of the barns are beginning to sag a bit or are outright falling down and being replaced with the newer steel, pole barns. We love the old barns --- they seem to hold a more romantic time, a time when farmers loved the land, the stock, the crops, their families and everything natural. I suppose that we are a couple of old barns, beginning to fall into disrepair around the edges, but still capable of holding the crops for a few more years. We behold the beauty along the roads between here and there and love the sight of the old and regal, when others might only see the piled up mile markers and weeds along the fence rows. It is all in the eyes of the beholders.


Big Dave T said...

Bravo! Well said. But I fear I'm feeling some of those joint aches now even at 53. Yet my mind thinks my body's still young too.
This weekend I'm going to be playing in a soccer tournament with players more than half my age. Well, I'm going to say a prayer first.

Tim said...

My father and I never really got along, however, he does have some great one-liners: "Age is only a frame of mind . . . now where did I put that frame?"

He's 80 next year, and still bicycling around 100 miles a week or more, and has yet to get off his bike when a hill comes up.

I can only hope to aspire to like you, my father and others at the age of 70+. Who knows what medical leaps we'll make in 37 years when I reach 70.

molly said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. You picked up on the part of it that was most important to me, the passage of time. You sound very wise, and I got a kick out of your description of how you think others perceive your roller blading.
Your writing is wonderful as you describe the trip to and from Fl. I could see what you saw, and understand what you felt.
Come back and visit with me again, as I will with you. And by the way, I too am an RN. Retired by way of a disability. Small world, huh?

SJ said...

That was both beautiful and funny. Great job.