… when I’m 64? goes the Beatles song. I woke up with a panicky sense that time is moving too fast; no control! Each day, I begin by checking the calendar (yikes, Saturday again), the time (only 7:10, ok to sleep in), state of health (that cold’s gone and the belly incision still hurts), and things on the tattered to-do list (gotta answer stepmother’s letter before she dies).
Ageing, I find, takes no effort, it simply happens at an increasingly faster pace. Meditation is supposed to help me savour the moment, yet moments fly by, as do hours and days. Remember when you were young, when looking forward to future events was exciting? When I turn 10, then … When I finish apprenticeship/military/marriage/degree/payments …. or (let’s move along) When I retire, I’m going to … The future then was something to anticipate, eagerly awaited. Now I wish that days would last a little longer, that the clock would slow down.
And what about these medical issues? Nothing too serious, but I’ve made more doctor’s visits in two years than in all 60 before that. No wonder the healthcare system is in trouble, with me and hundreds and thousands of youngsters getting on. Now there’s a cane in the same closet as my running shoes, my attitudes are hardening along with arteries, I snored during Wednesday’s zazen, know more about herniation and rotator cuffs than I care to, and heard my GP suggest I give Viagra a try. “A’s for arthritis,” writes Judith Viorst in Suddenly sixty —
B’s for bad back.
C is for chest pains. Corned beef? Cardiac?
D is for dental decay and decline.
E is for eyesight — can’t read that top line.
F is for fissures and fluid retention.
G is for gas (which I’d rather not mention)
And other such gastrointestinal glitches.
H is high blood pressure.
I is for itches.
J is for joints that are failing to flex.
L’s for libido — what’s happened to sex?
Wait! I forgot about K for bad knee.
(I’ve got a few gaps in my M — memory.)
N’s for nerve (pinched) and neck (stiff) and neurosis.
O is for osteo –.
P’s for — porosis.
Q is for queasiness. Fatal? Just flu?
R is for reflux — one meal becomes two.
S is for sleepless nights counting my fears.
T is for tinnitus bells in my ears.
U is for difficulties urinary.
V is for vertigo.
About what the X — as in X ray — will find.
But though the word “terminal” rushes to mind,
I’m proud, as each Y — year — goes by, to reveal
A reservoir of undiminished Z — zeal —
For checking the symptoms my body’s deployed,
And keeping my twenty-six doctors employed.
text source: Viorst, J. (2000). Suddenly sixty and other shocks of later life. New York: Simon Schuster. image credit: imagestate.com