In too many ways, old age is just plain old

"Age," legendary baseball pitcher Satchel Paige once said, "is a case of mind over matter. If I don't mind, it don't matter." Perhaps, but for many of us, it does matter.

As I have written before, I spent a good part of my teen life with the knowledge that I was unlikely to live beyond the age of 30. All of my uncles died before that age and my father died at age 28 at an industrial accident in 1948.

For the longest time, I thought I helped break the curse because I thought I was the oldest among ourcousins. Turned out. an older cousin survived beyond 30 and is, today, still alive. So much for the curse.

When I turned 40, i still figured my life probably wasn’t over. People were living past 80, so I should have at least 40 years left.

Reaching age 50, however, suggested that I was likely more than halfway done with life. A grandmother lived just short of age 100 and the other one was 94 but my mother died at age 89 in 2012.

At age 60, I sure wasn’t going to live sixy more years but, with luck, still had a couple of decades left. However, a bad encounter with a black steer on a dark night on U.S. 221 between Cave Spring and the bottom of Bent Mountain damn near killed me at age 64 but, once again, the grim reaper was turned aside.

Then I hit 70,. which meant, if lucky, I might have at least 10 years left. Then 75 arrived late last year and that means perhaps five years left, again if lucky.

At age 75, I walk with an ever-increasing limp, vision in my right eye going in and out because of an injury in that acccident 10 years ago and hearing heading south. Luckily, I seem to be avoiding the usual killers of people my age: Cancer or heart disease. Have had a few bouts with skin cancer but the more serious stuff doe snot show up in the family genes.

Still, since returning the home of my high school years,. I have attended funerals of former classmates younger than me, alone with some others who had fewer birthdays. Cut I have a good friend who is 79 and just survived open heart surgery, and another whose cancer is in remission at age 83.

Former president Donald Trump turned 77 today and current president Joe Biden is 80. Trump is running for president again but. with luck, his future home will be federal prison.

Some have criticised me for letting my hair grow longer than they are used to. “What are you doing, trying to recapture you lost youth?”

Not really. My wife asked me to grow it back to the length it was when we met a half-century ago. I’ve for several more inches left before my once black hair will be long enough but it will be white this time around.

I have to admit that I have more than a few worries about death approaching. For one thing, I have some things left to do. Some call it a “bucket list.” I call mine “a fuck it list” because “fuck, I running out of time.”

In a profile last month of Fox Media baron Rupert Murdoch, writer Gabriel Sherman noted that the adage that says “40 is the new 30 and 60 is the new 40, but 70 is just 70, period.” Murdoch is now 92. Even worse, he looks and acts like a tired 92.

At 75, I can’t type worth a damn now. Bad news for a writer who once typle 122 words a minute without typos. I can’t get down on my knees. If I try, I can’t get back up without a lot of help. As a photographer, I now feel the weight of carrying and using two SLR cameras and lenses. That didn’t used to be a problem.

Professional video cameras are less than a third of the size of one just a decade ago but even the smaller ones give me fits. Mowing out hillside lawn, even with a riding lawn mower, is on hold because of injuries earlier this year to my legs. Our yard looks like a wilderness area but will have to stay that way because I can’t afford to pay someone else to mow it.

Why? Because I’m old and getting older every minute.

“It’s better than the alternative, ” is an answer I often get if I say that to anyone.

Yes living is, for now. better than dying. Let’s hope it stays that way.

© 2004-2022 Blue Ridge Muse

© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse