Friday, October 18, 2013

Guest Post From Dave Burroughs... The Golden Buckey

A View of the World of a GOLDEN BUCKEYE  

Sometimes I feel that the end is near. We are given a finite number of minutes on this planet and I am beginning to realize that I have used up a significant percentage of my allocation. Certain signals that I am receiving are beginning to bring this into my awareness daily. Little things. Things that when mentioned to anyone under forty would largely be termed unworthy of consideration. Perhaps because these people still cling in a large extent to the emotional opinion that they are near invulnerable. Youth can be that way.

When they were young they had forty or fifty years left; to them this was near eternity. Time passes too slowly at that age; HURRY IT UP! LETS GO! As if time is in endless supply. It seems, from my current vantage point that they were deliberately attempting to get their lives over with, as if they had not yet fully developed a sense of time passage.

I was there. I was also unconcerned with later life. So unconcerned that I really didn’t prepare adequately for financial life after my prime. I call that time the ‘breeding years’. It’s true that I won’t starve, but I could have planned considerably better. But why should I? I had virtual infinity to do that. Time will always pass slowly. Won’t it?

NO!!!  It will accelerate.  In this theoretical context, time is not a universal constant. Each year it moves into the past a little faster. You, in your busy prime time with only survival to concern you won’t notice this. Won’t notice it, that is, until those ‘little things’ begin to materialize. They creep unnoticed into your daily life insidiously like a virus hiding there in ambush for years until some incident reveals their hiding place.

There IT is! The first of the dark gremlins.... A messenger appears. Usually happening in your early forties. Usually catching you by utmost surprise. A simple thing like an ache or a pain where you had never had a pain. “How can I hurt there? I’ve been doing this exercise for years and this has never happened”.  Perhaps IT will appear as a comment. A young friend or peer will make an innocent comment; the friend speaks, “this person was pretty old, he must have been in his fifties”,... not realizing that YOU ARE THAT AGE NOW. Shocking!  He back pedals crudely then, “Oh, of course, I wasn’t referring to you. You don’t look THAT OLD”..... This is no help at all.

There are many other things that begin to show themselves at that time. Little shocks, each taking their toll on our moral… if we let them. The sudden appearance of an AARP brochure in the mail can be devastating if you let it. The youthful cashier at the restaurant about whom you had just been entertaining a rather intimate fantasy asks you if you have a SENIOR CITIZEN’S DISCOUNT CARD! (that one is a killer). You are now beginning to become aware that most of the people in your daily life are younger than you are; “WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN!”. Then you think silly things like “my God, I’m older than the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES”. Totally Bummed!

There is a creeping awareness, a seeming credibility problem. People around you are more and more difficult to convince and they can’t seem to hold their attention on your argument as they used to. You find yourself observing that they are stifling a yawn; they can be distracted from your dialog at the slightest provocation. You find yourself directing conversation to older people not secure in the younger person’s capability to maintain attention for more than a few seconds. You don’t know if this is due to the impatience of youth or that you are actually that boring.

As a person in the throes of becoming aware of this time of life I am also realizing there are many positive aspects to this entry to the ‘golden years’. The overriding impression now is that when I find someone with whom I CAN converse, (I really mean converse here, not just making small talk about the neighbors children or griping about the job) , the conversation is generally much more meaningful, fuller, much more colorful and interesting.  Speaking to some younger people these days sometimes leaves me unfulfilled. They seem to speak in ‘bottom line’ generalities not fulfilling the obligation of getting their complete thought across. I sometimes ask them to elaborate the subject for clarity only to trigger impatience thereafter getting bombarded with an even briefer (and louder) version of their message.

I believe this passage will be a somewhat difficult adjustment. I am also however, beginning to suspect that the era that I am entering is going to be immensely more interesting. These people have much more experience with life. There is interest and caring here. I don’t remember those things being abundant in early adulthood when we were largely interested in monetary things, sex, raising families and ‘getting ahead’ (whatever that is). In my youth I could spend time conversing with another young person only if we had much in common. Today I find that I am able to listen and become very involved in conversations concerning subjects of which I have no previous knowledge. I find myself somewhat intimidated when exposed to the vast and interesting experiences that emanate from recent ‘senior citizens’ with which I have conversed.  

I wonder if I am about to uncover an obvious ‘secret’? A secret that thus far has remained invisible due to my being blinded by the ignorance and impetuousness of youth? This world of advanced and highly experienced folks probably is discovered infrequently by anyone of fewer than four decades and I suspect usually not until five.

Age could be rich!

What do you know?.....I no longer fear growing old as much,

Ol' Dave