By Madge Wylie
You look from your newborn eyes and the people who talk to you and coo at you and see to your comfort are these people with hair and beards. They show you to all their friends who, likewise, coo at you.
This just lasts a few days.
The next thing they do is put you on the floor and then they hoot when you try to move from place to place on your own. Some of you will crawl on your stomachs and some will scoot on your rears. Soon they will be standing you on your feet in front of a chair or inside a fence they call a playpen – a facility with bars, much like a jail. You will learn to walk with no assistance.
If you’re cautious about taking steps, they have tricks. When my little brother, Larry, was old enough to walk but still too cautious, they put corncobs in his little hands. Thinking they were his dad’s rough fingers, he took off and never looked back. He’s been walking for about 79 years now.
Pretty soon you’re old enough to go to school. The aging process puts boobs on you and gives you hormones and you are now not the cute little thing, but this obnoxious teen-ager who is rebellious about all kinds of things – style, manners and social skills.
And now, the next thing you know, you are graduating from high school. All of a sudden those people who nurtured you and saw to your comfort are sending you out into the big, bad world. You have to decide if you want to keep going to school or get a job and start taking care of yourself. Your parents aren’t nearly as smart as they were when you were that toddler, and you have to deal with all sorts of advice that you don’t really want to hear.
For the next 20 or 30 years you settle down, hopefully; get married and create a family that takes most of your attention. Those doting parents of yours are getting pretty senile. They have even more free advice for you than they ever did when you needed it, but now you don’t want to hear it.
Your family goes through the same process you did, but times change. They don’t seem to have to get married, unless they want to. They follow the new social guidelines that are governed by their access to Social Media and what everyone else is doing.
Now you are passing through middle age and your children are becoming the new generation of grandparents. Your body is revolting against the aging process, but in your mind you are still that young person who could do anything. (My perpetual age has been 57 for about 30 years now.) People are inclined to finish your sentences for you when you tend to hesitate to think of the proper words. All of a sudden they are inclined to help you down a step or across the street whether you want it or not. Mostly because the streetlight has changed twice.
The really good thing about all this is you have reached a plateau where you can actually decide to do what you want to today. Going to work or cooking for someone else has been ingrained in you so many years; you have to work at getting that out of your system. But it can be done. You can watch t.v. all day if you want to. At first it may hurt your conscience, but you’ll get over it. You can still plan to do all those great things you thought you would do when you retired, but if you don’t get a garden planted this year, there is still next year – maybe.
And reliving your past is a pretty good exercise, if you don’t have anything else to do. Don’t have any regrets – you can’t change anything – just take pleasure in all the good memories.