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On Life, Death, and Aging

June 15, 2010

I never really imagined myself growing old. I mean, probably a lot of people don’t but growing up I honestly never expected to make it anywhere near the mid-twenties at all.  When I finally made it out of my early twenties I started to feel different, I no longer had a nagging feeling my ticket was going to come up.  After age twenty-five birthdays started to get more difficult for me, though.  It seemed like there where so many times in my life when I should have just ceased to exist.  Aging and death of old age just never seemed like they were going to be in my cards.  After twenty-five I felt like  I was “safer” somehow but, all of a sudden I was living on some other time track.  Until then the whole death and death of old age concept  wasn’t something I’d ever given thought to.  So, it’s always been sort of eerie feeling when I would see these old couples.  Getting old and growing old with someone just has never seemed like it would be a part of my time line.  Even now it’s not something I think of as being in my future, sometimes I think I don’t even want it in my future.  I don’t want to say I have an early death wish or anything like that but, let’s just say I don’t live my life with the peer pressure of death breathing down my neck (if that makes any sense).

See, when I was eighteen I kissed death full on the mouth and then I got up and walked on.  The thing is though, after that I knew what death was. I knew what would be coming.  I made my peace with mortality.  I think it might sound pretty crazy but, I feel strangely comfortable with death and maybe dare say welcoming.  I mean when it comes it will come.  It will be my time and there will be no stopping that.

I guess I haven’t quiet been able to shift my life view to include old age.  It’s just strange to me though…slow decay ha!  My dad had his own experience with death years ago, only I think he kind of became obsessed.  Anyway, he doesn’t get the whole decaying old people thing either.  These stooped over, don’t get out of the chair, eating mashed bland food, old people.  We’ve both agreed we never want to be that so long as we can help it.

I guess the rare occasion I do see myself getting old…this is what I wish to be:  I wish to be that eccentric old lady that the entire town talks about, they all know that she’s a good person but…you know.  All the kids come visit my house because unlike their boring parents I still have an IMAGINATION.  My yard is that one that really gets the gossip going because it’s got bizarre sculptures and lawn ornaments I’ve stolen on my late night walks.  Of course no one in the town will say anything about their missing lawn ornaments because I’m old and strange.  If they do I’ll just blame it on a sleep walking habit I’ve developed due to medication.  I’ll be like my paternal grandma and drink and smoke until the day I die…because I can, I like it, and I’m old damn it! I’ll walk around town reading Neruda, Shakespeare, The Canterbury Tales, and One Hundred and One Arabian Nights, aloud. I’ll find strange places to take naps at the oddest times, only maybe I’ll just be pretending.  I’ll tell everyone I’m 76 but really I’ll be 97 because even when I’m old I still won’t look my age.  Instead of being the crazy cat lady, maybe I’ll have a pack of dogs…maybe mice…maybe orchids…  I’ll be old but I’ll still have a tree house in my backyard.  I’ll get around town on a pair of old roller skates.  Every once in a while I’ll go up to the public schools and hassle them about ” Just what they are teaching children in schools these days?”.  Then I’ll go home and soak in my claw foot tub and think “Maybe, getting old wasn’t such a weird concept after all”.

Can you tell what one of my favorite poems was growing up? (“Warning, When I am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple”)

I guess, I used to live my life as each day was my last, trying to cram every second in with something.  Now (post incident) I live as though it’s not my last day but if it is…I’ll be ok with that.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 4, 2010 7:03 pm

    When you kissed death on the mouth… what happened? Tell me more about this. You also said in an earlier entry that when you were twelve you vanished, and no one noticed when you returned. I think that’s what you said… Can you tell me more about this too?

    • January 16, 2011 3:17 pm

      I wish I could make a reply private haha! I don’t really want to get into the first part, I mean I guess it’s probably already out there is cyber space somewhere still. I’m fine w/ emailing it, if you want. I just decided at some point those who know me know (those closest to me eventually hear the story) and I didn’t want it floating around for just everyone on the web. I guess I could make a private post on it.
      When I was twelve there was a lot going on in my family. My grandmother passed away (she was pretty much the most important person in my life), my brother started having issues which eventually ended with him having to spend five months away to get better (we were both in high school by that time), my parents couldn’t hold up their illusion of being married any more (they finally separated and divorced when my brother was away). So, pretty much every one in my life was caught up in their own crap or my brother’s crap and I was just on my own. I blacked out all of middle school and the majority of high school. In all the chaos that was going on in my family a lot of my friendships fell apart. I wasn’t really the type to talk to anyone about my problems so, I really didn’t have anything or anyone to lean on or connect with. Everything and anything I was dealing with in my own life was drowned out by the chaos in the family. I went into a major depressive episode for those years. I guess I say no one noticed when I “returned” because I’m not sure anyone really noticed that I was really not doing well at all. They were just too caught up to notice the 180’s I did in mood/personality/etc. A few years ago my mom did come to me and say “Yeah, you were pretty much invisible during that time, I should have realized you were struggling and needed help too”. It took a couple years for the dust to settle and figure out how to pick up again.

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