The only ones who ever want to be “older” are under 10 or near 21. Once they are “older” they will be able to do what they want whenever they want however they want to do it. No one to tell them what to do, where to go, what to eat; no one to tell them to sit up straight, don’t shuffle your feet when you walk, or make sure you eat a balanced meal.
One day you look around you and you wonder why no one told you not to eat that loaded pizza or date that iffy weirdo or to go to bed early.
There’s no one there.
I went camping over the weekend with good, good friends. No kids, just grandparents. Driving through one of the touristy northern Wisconsin towns, I couldn’t help but notice that there were nothing but old people walking the streets, shopping, eating, holding hands or walking 15 paces apart.
Where were the kids? The kids with their kids? Where were the lovers, the blind daters, and the honeymooners?
All that walked up and down the crowded streets were old people.
I couldn’t possibly fit into that category.
Old people were bent over and white haired and feeble minded and wear North Face outerwear and tan sun block sun glasses. Old people scour the menus in restaurants for senior citizen discounts and always drive five miles per hour under the speed limit. They can’t see, they can’t hear and they’re stubborn in their opinions of the world.
That’s not me. That will never be me.
Now, if you believe that, I’ve got a three-eyed raven to sell you.
I am a senior citizen and then some.
I don’t like it, I don’t admit it, I don’t want it. That’s always the other person. Not me. I’m too young and bright and clever and amusing to be old.
Not like there’s anything wrong with old people, mind you. The world is full of old people. All shapes, sizes, colors, income levels, and energy levels.
The stigma of being “old” has been with me all of my life. Don’t know if it was bred into me as a kid, a fear and easement through my youth, an excuse for messing up, or fear of making the wrong choices.
But there’s no way I am almost 70 with a lifetime of tales behind me.
I found myself telling my hubby this weekend that I loved just sitting around the campsite in the peace and quiet just sitting. Not running after grandkids, not going shopping, not throwing in another load of laundry. Just sitting and looking at the trees, listening to the birds, and feeling the cool breeze across my face.
There’s so much more I want to do in my life. I’m done with Angel Tears for the season, but there’s turning a doll house into a haunted house I need to do with my granddaughter, Deer Hunter Widow’s weekend to plan, movies I want to watch, stories I need to finish, and books I want to read.
Not sitting around and watching the leaves blow.
The happy ending to this story is that at this point in my life I can do what I want, go where I want, be what I want. 70 or 50 or 15.
And there’s not one thing wrong in looking at the senior citizen menu. OR the blowing leaves.