The best part of getting older. Stop. Isn't this oxymoronic? Or is it just me? In a matter of days, I will be 56. Gad. How can that be. Mentally, I am pushing 12. Ask my children. Ask my husband. Ask my dogs. Cats. Birds. Fish. The slugs in my garden. I leave room for everybody.
Old. What does this truly mean. It means I have clothes in my containers from the 60s. That's not good. It means I have clothes from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and don't me started. If I could weasle costumes from other centuries out of museums, I'd put those in containers too. I know what old means, it means "Get A Grip."
OK, getting older can be fun. My excuses for not accomplishing tasks now have some solidity behind them. Sort of. I do not have a creaky back, creaky knees or creaky brain cells (occasionally, but not chronic). My sense of humor is on the verge of returning from "Laurence of Arabia" hiatus. Lost in someone's desert. What is the point of not laughing at what is so obviously a life that Moliere would have celebrated. I own no home. I owe as much or more than the next person. I worry about everything: the oil spill, hurricanes, both done and undone, the price of gas, the price of Cheerios, and of course, the value of all. Thank you Oscar Wilde.
My students do not think that my old age is a treasure. They think it is irrelevant. Until they graduate and then, one or two, start looking at me with that queer, odd, turn of the eyelid, that says, "Who are you really?" and is that journalism wisdom perhaps more useful than I thought. Then they shake that look out of their eyes and wish me well and turn the page.
I can shut my eyes and rerun videos and films. I can channel Cary Grant and Irene Dunne and Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur. I like that about my age. I can recall historic moments and feel the happiness and pain. I like that about my age. I do not like remembering Vietnam or war in general. I do not like seeing new crosses and new headstones and the faces of men and women my age who must mourn their children. I do not like that about my age.
I especially do not like that my father is not here to share these thoughts with me. He died at age 57 in 1986. I also do not like that my mother, 81, is coming to the closure of her life. What I do like is that I was able to go see her and hug her and feel like a child again cuddled next to her. That is the joy of old age. Knowing that it is quite all right to be a kid again at heart.