When you get to a certain age, past Social Security eligibility and even past the age where actuaries consider the life span of a white male, your mind begins to think of those nagging insecurities younger people eschew. I admit to checking obituaries and muttering how many people die younger than me. I see trailers for TV shows’ next season and wonder whether I’ll be around to see what happens to Suits, Major Crimes or Homeland or whether Albert Pujols regains his form or if Yasiel Puig is just a three-month wonder. I wonder if anything I wrote will ever be optioned again and made into a blockbuster or one of my TV sitcoms will ever bypass major studio shredders.
Sometimes I get palpitations when I get ready to turn in at night, wondering if I’ll get through the night, and then breathing sighs of relief when I awaken to daylight. I feel safer when the sun is out. I now have a regiment of medicinal bottles to see me through the day — for type II diabetes (perfectly under control) for hypertension, normal for a 30-year old, and pills to control cholesterol (normal). Whether the pills actually work or are placebos and my mind does the rest is up in the air.
There is one thing so many aging people dread: not being able to finish or to experience things and ideas that they want to complete. “If only” is unfortunately a phrase in the minds of many older people. Frustration rears its ugly countenance. Many of us wonder whether we’ll be around the next Christmas or New Year’s or Easter or Rosh Hashana.
As an avid liberal politico wanna-be, I will wonder whether Hilary will run, or Joe Biden, or what Tea Party favorite will lose in 2016. I want to be there to jeer the rednecks who have taken over the House and the Republican Party. I want to see Iran rejoin the pantheon of freedom-respecting nations, and I want to see Palestinians win freedom from obstreperous Israeli orthodoxy.
I want to take some more overseas vacations, being able to walk unaided, and not worrying about long non-stop flights. I’d like to take that cross-continent train in Australia, and pause to sightsee at Ayres Rock. I’d still like to revisit my old Paris haunts, even though, as last spring’s voyage showed, most are gone in favor of upscale “bistros” catering to wealthy Chinese. I’d like to win a big prize in the lottery, where I have had no luck since its inception. I want to be able to drive without worrying about my reaction time.
Most of all, as I continue to age, I don’t want to face the possibility of dementia, because even as bones become more frail, as long as the creativity in my brain functions, I will live.
Time is not on my side, of course. So I continue to wear a wristwatch that has numbers and hour and minute hands, because the analog timepieces frighten me into realizing that time is running faster than ever.