The other night I was watching tv and a commercial came on, playing the song, “Sunny”, a 1966 hit! If you aren’t familiar with this song, Google it. This song was very popular, always brought a smile to my face, made me happy, but not this time. I suddenly realized that those of us who were teenagers in the 60s are now old, senior citizens, ignored, disrespected, shuffling. Our prostate and ears are growing larger by the minute, we have 200 medications in our bathroom cabinet, we snore, we wake up with crackling bones, our TVs are so loud, they drown out the sirens on the ambulance coming to take us away. We are withered, grumpy, opinionated. We are old! In the 60s we were invincible, immortal, we were kings! We could never imagine having hair and moles sprouting out all over our unrecognizable, drooping bodies! We have dinner at 4:30 and are in bed by 6:00, waking up every hour or so to relieve our incontinent bladders. We get up at 4:00, and immediately check the Weather Channel— God knows why, it’s not like we have some pressing appointment or date, except with our doctors or caregiver. If we read the paper, the first thing we go to are the obituaries, to see who died, and we feel a sense of triumph if they’re younger than we are. Schadenfreude, I suppose.
I suppose I’m being a bit facetious, but the reality of growing older can be very sobering. You refuse to believe you can’t do the things you did 20 years ago. You become very health conscious, picky about what you eat and drink, things you should’ve done in your 50s, maybe? Your mortality hovers about you like a cloak. Any sign of pain is either a heart attack, cancer, or some unimaginable or incurable disease! You start thinking of your life and how you’ve lived it, if your children and family will be there for you, when you need them. If you were a good person or a jerk, and on and on, your mind wanders, ad infinitum!
Of course there’s a happier side to all this. You start appreciating the fact that you’ve been blessed with longevity, with grandchildren, with lifelong friendships, and so much accumulated knowledge, and wisdom. You saw Ali fight! Sinatra, Miles Davis, Winston Churchill, King, Mandela, Kennedy, Price, Goldson, were all a part of your life, your time. Not to forget Michael Jordan, Walter Payton, Pele, the real one, Jackie Robinson, and all the great sports and entertainment figures that were a part of the playlist of our lives. A playlist that I wouldn’t exchange for any other era!
We are old, and we were blessed. Those of us who are still ambulatory, and in relatively good condition, still have time to be productive, to contribute to society, to give back, and to share whatever knowledge and wisdom we’ve acquired, with those less fortunate. We can appreciate the fact that we grew up in a time of innocence, compared to the whirlwind of nonstop madness and mayhem of our now. That we had a better chance of survival, that chivalry was not some antiquated word, that we respected life and property, and that to be noble and empathetic, was still a requirement.
Yes, we are older, we should embrace that gift, celebrate it every single remaining day we have left. Stay in touch with those that matter. Help those we can, and avoid poisonous, miserable, negative influences that can pull you into their sphere and never let go of you. Age gracefully and be happy, you old bastards!
“ where are the songs of spring, aye, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too.” Ode to Autumn, by John Keats.