I started thinking very recently about this question: when does “growing older” turn into “being old,” without our specific knowledge?
Of course, we all know that everyone is growing older from the moment of birth. But children at their lives’ beginnings aren’t apt to be thinking about their inevitable ends, and most of them aren’t looking backward, either; they’re very much “in the moment”. For us seniors, however, looking back is a way of life. But looking ahead is our necessity. We know how many years we’ve already lived, and constantly review the memories we’ve amassed during those years, but we also know that the years yet to come will number far less than those already gone, and we dare not waste them, because we still have so much to do.
What propelled me into this line of thinking was something incredibly simple: I had a sudden taste for a vanilla milkshake. So I went into a neighborhood McDonald’s something I hadn’t done for at least a couple of years; there, my medium shake cost $2.49, plus tax. Immediately, I was mentally re-watching television on a tiny screen, seeing this commercial for that growing restaurant chain back in the day: “You get a hamburger, fries, a soft drink, and change from your dollar”!
Of course that got me into more “backward” thinking. I wonder if I’m the last person to remember that you could get an ice cream bar (a Good Humor, at that!) for a dime. How many, like me, still think fondly of watching Ernie Kovacs and his hilarious “Nairobi Trio” on weeknight TV? Is anyone else now alive who knows that Jim Henson and his Muppets got their start advertising for the Kraml Milk company in Washington, D.C., let alone recall seeing those now-prehistoric television performances?
Like any realistic senior, I acknowledge that the number of years I have before me will be no match for that pileup behind me. I’m 82. My personal future number right now is 9, according to Abaris Longevity, which will do a calculation for you at no cost if you don’t mind answering a few questions; just go to www.myabaris.com for the sad truth. So I’d better get busy; I still have a lot to do!
But there’s another not-so-sad truth: life expectancy keeps increasing for us in America all the time. I’ve already lived longer than both my father and mother, who passed away at ages 59 and 78, respectively.
So I’ll just go on collecting new memories while sharing the old with folks who have different ones, and listening eagerly to theirs. Why don’t you send me some of your favorites? Thanks! firstname.lastname@example.org