AMBIENT THOUGHT – EPISODE Two Hundred Ten: Half A Century

The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky, and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.

EPISODE TWO HUNDRED TEN – HALF A CENTURY

“There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you’re not here anymore.”

– The Ghost of Christmas Present (Scrooge via 1970)

As of this writing (if I ever get well-known enough to write an autobiography, As of This Writing will be the title), I’m staring down the barrel at the age of fifty. For those that have passed this milestone, maybe you’ll know how I feel. But, for those that haven’t gotten close yet, this blog post is for you.
And maybe it’s still for those that have passed that age. Perhaps this will be a wake-up call. Let’s see.

How do I see myself?

I still see myself as a person in their twenties or very early thirties. Mentally, anyway.
Physically I’m feeling the aches and pains. Grunts and groans come from my mouth when I place my feet on the floor in the morning when I get out of bed. I wince with the occasional pinprick of pain in my back or feet as I trudge to the bathroom.
Yeah, mentally, I feel young. But my body reminds me I’m not.

Okay, maybe that’s a lie. However, I do worry much more than I did when I was younger. Bills and lack of funds invade my mind. Worry for my loved ones is there, too. These factors help cause my hair to turn white at the temples and the whiskers on my chin and cheeks (along with the genetics of having had another that had red hair: red tint in the whiskers).

I look in the mirror as I notice these things and think about turning half a century old.

Is this my middle age? I wonder. For the longest time, since I was a kid, I wanted to make it to the age of 102. A hundred years plus two more as a f*** you to the universe.
Or could this be my last birthday?
Maybe I won’t even make it to fifty. It’s more than possible.

I look in the bathroom mirror and notice a couple of strains of hair growing in my ears. Disgusting.
Maybe I should shave? If today is my last day, I should look nice.
Then I think, “screw it.”

I remember when I was young, my first memory. I was standing in the living room of my childhood home, the house I grew up in. I was standing in a pair of my dad’s cowboy boots. I was so small that the tops of the boots rubbed against my crotch. On my hands were a pair of round blow-up punching gloves. They looked liked multi-colored marshmallows. And I was playing boxing with my dad, who sat on the coffee table.
I can still feel the leather of the boots on the bottom of my feet and how sweaty my hands were inside the vinyl gloves.

And that was so long ago, at least, forty-six or forty-seven years ago.

Now, at nearly fifty, I think about how those boots and gloves are long gone.
I think about how my dad is long gone.
And I’m older than my father was in that first memory.

Time is growing short. Time to do the things I want to do or need to do is waning. I have reached an age where I say goodbye more than I say hello.

Some days, it scares the hell out of me. I mean, the fear is so great, I can think of nothing else. I worry that when I go to bed, that will be it. There will be no waking in the morning. And I think about all those things I wanted to do and didn’t do due to fear and anxiety. I think about leaving my wife, daughter, stepson, and, yes, my cats and dog behind. Will they think of me after I’m gone?
These are my weak days.

Then I have stronger days. I don’t worry about tomorrow. I see things that need to be done, and I do them. I remember to tell those that I love how much I do love them. I whittle away on those things I want to leave behind to show I was here and present. I write my little heart out and create something from nothing: my passions.
And I try to push aside the doubts that older age brings about. I try to stay plugged into that childlike wonder that some people lose along the way. I try to find things to be happy about and smile when I see myself in a place of joy.
These things help keep the white hairs, and the aches and pains seem like a distant annoyance.

I love it when I succeed, and I go to sleep with a sense of accomplishment and a full heart.

So, here’s my message to you:
Try not to think of what might possibly be your last day, but know that it’s coming.
Stop not doing. Do.
Be kind but don’t take s**t from anyone.
Hang onto, tooth and nail, to your inner child. Never let go.

And those aches and pains, well, they will remind you that you are still alive.
And you still have time.

– Loyd Elmore Jr
December 10th, 2021

I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else, but it might help me.

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