A Year (or Five)
Since I started Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog, I have tried to present a balanced view of aging … focusing as much as possible on the positives without ignoring the fact that, as people my age like to say, Getting Old is Not for the Faint of Heart. I was 64 when I wrote my first post, Feeling Older, which is now the frontispiece to my home page. Three years later, I wrote Feeling Old. Looking back I can see that I wasn’t considering that going from Older to Old so quickly made titling a continuing progression of posts about aging problematic. I mean, what now? Feeling Ancient?
In some ways, I feel as if 2016 has aged me five years, hence this post’s title. There are more daily aches, more regular stiffness as I roll out of bed in the morning, and more facts I can’t recall without resorting to Google. More often, I look at the world and shake my head, sometimes over little things like people walking around like zombies, glued to their phones, or how incredibly annoying commercials are these days. But there are big things, too, like an election that showed the darker side of the country I love. I had hoped that the drama would end after the election but it hasn’t … and both sides of the political aisle seem to be competing to see who can pass the next four years with the least grace. It makes me proud to be an independent but frightened for our country. The vitriol and the I’m-right-you’re-the-enemy approach to discourse, political and otherwise, makes me sometimes feel like a stranger in a strange land. Some bad decisions by our son, a squabble with our daughter and both my wife and I sick in bed on New Years Day brought the curtain down on 2016. Good riddance.
By any objective standards, I have a great life. I have my wife of almost 49 years by my side, my business is thriving (amazingly, almost on its own) and our health seems better than that of most people our age (My wife, Muri, would say knock on wood. Knock, knock). Even though I don’t feel energetic inside this old body, most people don’t believe I’m 72 in spite of my bald head and snow white goatee. I have interesting work and more hobbies … writing and photography and painting and music … than an old curmudgeon should be allowed. I don’t have a million friends but those I have are true, people I can turn to with anything and who trust me in the same way. Though most of my family is far away, they make me proud with the way they traverse their lives. In other words, they are good people. I have three beautiful grandchildren that absolutely light up my life. So, as I roll into 2017, the secret to having a good year is … as it always is … a matter of knowing where to look for the smiles. At 72, it is easy to find myself staring at the dark corners and the missing tiles. As I age, happiness sometimes takes conscious effort, actions like making a gratitude list in the morning or taking time to inventory the best moments of the day before bed. I wasn’t very consistent with such actions last year.
This year, I’m going to do my part. Now if 2017 will just cooperate. A belated Happy New Year to everyone.