July 23, 2008 Edition

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The age of reason

Vivian Heyl
Staff Writer

Getting old scares me. I am pushing 60 as hard as I can, and it's the hardest work I have ever done. I can't imagine what 70 or 80 or, the good Lord willing, 90 or older will bring.

The famous George Bernard Shaw quote, "Youth is wasted on the young," sometimes comes to mind when my brain is working overtime and my body isn't.

I don't really think that being young is the answer to all that ails me, but I wish I could have a little bit of the stamina and health I had once upon a time.

Many of my friends are in the same boat. Mine is a rubber raft with a leak. We have a new list of aches and pains to share with each other every time we meet.

One of my friends from Little Rock teases that when we had parties in our younger days we had "Bring Your Own Bottle." Now the bottle contains high blood pressure medicine or Ben Gay.

There are many things about getting older I enjoy. I like the fact that now I don't care what people think about my old woman shoes or my frumpy clothes. Nor do I have to hear "your face is so pretty, too bad you can't lose some weight." Nobody ever says your face is so wrinkled too bad you're fat.

I am looking forward to being able to retire and spend my days in the pursuit of all the things I always told myself I would someday have the time to do. Although many of my older friends tell me "good luck" on that one.

Some of the hardest working people I know are senior citizens. They continue to be active, productive members of the community. Some of them have still not retired and don't have plans to do so any time soon. I enjoy my job and hope to continue to work for many years, but I hope to be one of those septuagenarians spending time on my front porch in a rocking chair.

That's not to imply that I have no aspirations for my old age. I don't intend to just rest on my laurels. That's a fancy way of saying "behind" I think. No way! I fully intend to keep on adding to my fount of useless knowledge and maybe even adding some useful stuff as well.

I have big plans. I want to learn many things. Not necessarily frivolous things but those crafts and skills without which man would have had a much more difficult life.

Take basket weaving. Yes, I know people laugh when I say I want to take up basket weaving, but it is something I have always wanted to learn. I can hear my children moaning. I have a few baskets decorating my home already. It's a skill as old as mankind. Can you imagine what life would have been like without baskets? Besides, don't they say you're never too old to learn ... or is it you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Even though I often complain that I never have enough time. I hope I can learn to watch the grass grow, which I consider to be more exciting than watching paint dry, and just enjoy the beauty of the world. It's clich´┐Ż to say, stop and smell the roses, but that's exactly what I think I want to learn to do.

While I am waiting for that front porch rocking chair position to open up, I plan to keep on doing the best I can at pushing the next milestone up the hill and hope it rolls down the other side instead of back over me.

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