As I sit here firmly entrenched into my eighth decade, I find myself reflecting more often on the things I miss most from my youth. It hurts to even say “eighth decade.” Makes me want to lay down and take a nap. There is the question, of course, of just exactly when my youth was. From my point of view, my youth was anything before last week, so I have a rather large spectrum of things I miss to select from.
I loved to play basketball even though I wasn’t very good at it. I did play some city league games with my son and sons-in-law well into my fifties. It wasn’t pretty. The moral: If you’re not very good to begin with, you don’t have far to fall as you age. I would love to go out and just shoot some baskets for a while. There’s no one left to chase down the rebounds. Besides, the Red Head I Live With says I can’t play anymore. She’s afraid I’ll get hurt and that I should act my age. I don’t know how to act my age. I’ve never been this age before.
Our house was on a rather large lot when I was in grade school. We had a dozen or so rows of raspberries that were almost 100 feet long. Family dinner many nights would be freshly picked raspberries with farm-fresh whole milk. When my dad sold off a building lot that included the rows of raspberries, I was really conflicted. It cut down our chores in the raspberries, but I sure missed the “ready, on-demand” supply of the luscious berries. The rows were great for playing hide and seek in, too. You could hide and have a snack all at the same time. Talk about multitasking!
I once drove 100 miles out of my way to get a raspberry shake when I heard an ad on the radio advertising Raspberry Days at Bear Lake on the Utah-Idaho border.
Quick trips to the doctor
The length of my trips to the doctor is growing proportionally to my age. I miss those 10-minute physicals to play sports or go to scout camp. If my stays get any longer, I’ll have to start packing a lunch. I just need to remember to pack soft, bland foods.
Waking up with no aches and pains
Remember when you woke up in the morning and nothing hurt and you didn’t sound like a breakfast cereal going Snap, Crackle, and Pop when you started to move. Good times. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and tramadol are not very good friends of mine. Use only as directed.
19 cent gas
Do you remember buying gas for 19.9 cents a gallon? I sure do. Skipping lunch would put 2 gallons of gas in my gas hog, ’55 Pontiac. That would be enough for about 25 miles. One had to plan carefully.
I love to drive. Always have. Always will. If gas was still 19 cents, we could drive forever. Now I get excited if gas is under $2.75.
I’ve moved a lot as an adult. One of the casualties of frequent moves is fractured relationships. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder. Absence mostly brings about just ignoring relationships that should not be ignored. I feel bad I’ve lost touch with Turp, Richie Wolfgang, and Kent. I’ve not seen them since my Freshman year in college.
When I do run into a high school or college friend, they look so old. They must not have aged well. I’m sure I’m aging better. We have very few mirrors in our home. It helps.
I miss not having toddlers in the house. There is nothing simpler and purer than the unbridled love of a toddler. No strings attached. My kids are great adults. I just miss the kid years today. Grandkids are great but you’re just not there day in day out to see them discover little treasure after little treasure. I wish society was such that we all still lived in multi-generational compounds. Progress isn’t always a good thing.
Actually, I think hair is overrated. The days of the Afro are long over. The days of the Friar Tuck look are over, too. I can’t even pass as Mr. Clean unless I start some serious weightlifting. That’s not going to happen.
Christmas just isn’t the same without little ones around whose eyes shine bright in the reflection of an early morning Christmas tree. Remember the glow of a little one’s face when you opened the handmade or hand-selected present they had for you. They were always so excited and happy.
They weren’t called family reunions but once a summer we would have a family picnic and all the cousins that were close enough would come for a day-long picnic. Transportation has improved but the population is just more dispersed now. Our kids are spread from New York, to Arkansas, and to Utah. Grandkids are spread from Florida to Idaho. Nieces and nephews are spread from coast to coast. My cousins are spread out even farther. I’ve even lost track of a few of them. It’s just too far to get together. That’s too bad for my family…and for society.
Since my cardiologist told me I had to lose 75 pounds, I’ve lost 55 pounds. I was quite pleased with myself until I realized that after 70, it’s easier to lose muscle mass than it is fat. Ninety-five percent of my weight loss has been muscle mass and only five percent has been fat. Somethings wrong here!
I have a few canes and walking sticks. Although they are not constant companions, we are good friends. My inner ear is suffering from hardening of the arteries or whatever is in there that let’s each of us balance.
All of this might sound like grumbling to the uninitiated. It is. I miss my youth. My late wife – who had been in a wheelchair for many years – always had a great attitude about her circumstances. She would say, “I’m happy with where I am.” There is a great lesson in that for me, and probably for most of us senior citizens. There is nothing wrong with missing your youth. Enjoy your memories!
At least that’s the way I see it! Until next time...
The Senior Observer
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