I’m in my late 60s. At some point I became aware that I did not have a lifetime ahead of me to plan and hope. At some point, I became more aware of, more cautious about, the simple act of walking. I realized I could no longer jump from boulder to boulder as I crossed the stream. Instead, I now have to plan my route, step carefully, take a small leap only when there is no other alternative.
My children? They are no longer children. They are adults. Some young adults, some older. I see them aging. I look to them for comfort instead of looking to comfort them. I see them selfishly, as a source of grandchildren, visits and occasional telephone calls. The time in between has begun to blur.
I wonder if I am ready to go, wonder when it will be my time. As I have sat quietly, I think I have seen my death bed, but do not know if this is a dream, a fantasy, fear, or hope. All of these feelings, thoughts and images tend to blend together.
When did I begin to grow old? I don’t recall. It snuck up on me. As I slept. As I live out the remainder of my life, whatever that might consist of and however long it might be, I work, though less than I used to, spend time with friends, travel, go the theater, contemplate and reminisce. I struggle less. I find joy in little things. I wake up and start the day without hurrying.
What is left? More of the same, the fabulous same? When do we, when do I, begin dying? Will it visit softly in the night as I sleep? Will I struggle? Will the pain in my body grow more demanding or fade away? How will I know I have begun?