Sixty-seven years ago today, my cousin Marty posed with me beside my birthday cake that bore one candle. The picture was taken in our grandmother's front yard on what used to be Watts Avenue. When I was one, my parents and I were still living with my grandparents.
Marty is probably partly responsible for my birth. In mid-December 1944, my mother had taken her to see Santa Claus at one of the downtown Roanoke department stores. When Santa asked her what she wanted, Marty told him to bring my mother a baby. Nine months later, I was born.
I've changed a lot since the day that picture was taken, but one thing remains the same: I was toddling about unsteadily then; thanks to my current bout with sciatica, I'm again toddling unsteadily. Then, I was too young to do lots of things. Now, I'm too old.
I was still fairly young when the 1970's Clairol Loving Care commercial proclaimed, "You're not getting older, you're getting better!" Now, I'm old enough to realize what a lie that slogan was. I'm too old to do a lot of things I'd like to do again—ride my horse, walk the woods with my dogs, even stand in one place for more than a few minutes. I've pretty much given up on some of goals I once had.
Edited to add: This poem, "Riveted,"
by Robyn Sarah pretty much captures the feeling of growing old. The poem begins:
It is possible that things will not get better
than they are now, or have been known to be.
It is possible that we are past the middle now.
It is possible that we have crossed the great water
without knowing it, and stand now on the other side.