Looking forward to the golden years

Published 1:07 pm Thursday, February 29, 2024

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Paul often says the reason we forget that we are people of ‘a certain age’ is because we haven’t passed the normal rites of passage other couples have. This theory was repeated upon my audible gasp upon seeing a recent photo of rock crooner, Neil Young. Who was this double chinned curmudgeon with wisps of gray hair? Where were his dark, enormous eyes and luxurious curtain of black hair?

It shouldn’t have been a big deal. The man is 75. It’s just that I’ve been revisiting my favorite albums of all time, and Young’s ‘Harvest’ is high on the list. And you know how it is: a certain song can transport you right back to your childhood, or, as was the case with me, as I entered 5th grade. Other great ones followed: Paul McCartney and Wings, The Allman Brothers and The Stones all defined by teenaged years.

So how can Neil be 75 and Sir Paul be 81 when I’m 19?

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And how did the majority of friends I grew up with end up becoming grandparents when they’re actually younger than me?

Oh, wait…

“I wonder when the penny will drop that I’m rapidly closing in on being a senior?” I asked Paul (the rose guy, not the global superstar), “Because I still feel just like I did decades ago.”

Paul nodded slowly and replied thoughtfully. “First of all, we’re both very lucky to be healthy, and secondly, I think because we didn’t want kids, we missed a lot of those normal mile markers everybody else experienced.”

“Such as?”

“Well, seeing your kid grow up, go to prom, graduate, go to college…”

“Get married,” I cut in to finish his thought. “Move back home, siphon off our retirement, take our gift of a down payment on a house to get them outta our hair…”

“And then share photos all over Facebook of us holding our first grandchild.” Paul finished. “We haven’t experienced any of that so no reminders that the clock is ticking and we’ve entered another plateau of aging.”

“Like AARP Magazine arriving in the mailbox when I turned 50.” I mused, mostly to myself. Funnily, despite tossing it immediately into the recycle bin upon its arrival as I continued to live fervently in denial, I now—dare I admit it—not only look forward to actually reading it (‘Beware of Latest Scams Targeting Seniors!’) but I caught myself comparing the plush comfort of a brand of slippers to my farrier.

And now with the addition of our latest feral cat, Mr. Yow (although I just changed his name for the sake of comedy to Chairman Mao), I have been reminded of another mile marker. A first, and rather a grim one.

“We really can’t take in any more animals.”

“Why is that?” asked Paul.

“Well,” I began painfully, “We’ve got to make sure we outlive them. Cats can live to be 20, dogs well into their teens and horses can easily hit 30. In 20 years we’ll be in our 80s, struggling to lift one of our obese cats and get it into the car for an emergency midnight drive to the urgent care vet clinic in Flat Rock. We’ll be blinded by our cataracts with every set of headlights we pass.”

Paul nodded soberly. “Yeah, and we don’t want them to end up scared and abandoned at some shelter because we had to give them up when we move into assisted living.”

“So from now on, no more kittens or puppies. If we get more pets, they’ll have to be older.”

“Well, that won’t be any fun,” Paul grumbled. “We’ll just end up with pets that do nothing but sleep all day and wet their beds.”

“Yes,” I nodded. “We’ll have so much in common!”