Thursday, December 5, 2013

A wonderful, terrifying moment

I'm driving down the road, listening to the radio, enjoying this simple experience that has given me so much pleasure ever since the day I got my driver's license.

This song comes on the radio.

I know it very well, of course; it's been popular and out for a long time. 

I find myself singing along to the words.

Inside my head, the refrain feels real, appropriate, strong--I am young.  I burn with the energy of my youth.  The music ignites and engages that energy and my passions, as rock and roll has always done for me, and for a wonderful moment I am a young man singing along to music that speaks to his youth. 

But of course I am not young.  I am 58 years old, less than a third of a year away from turning 59.  My hair is mostly gray, my beard, white.  In the most optimistic moments I can wrangle, when I picture myself living as long as anyone in my ancestry has ever lived, I still have far fewer years ahead of me than behind me.  I have so much I want to do, so much passion, so much anger, so much love, so much of everything that I cannot possibly have so few years left, cannot possibly be so old, cannot possibly no longer be young.  Yet I am.  The terror of my oldness, of my mortality, hits me harder than any beating I have ever taken, and I have taken hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them.

The moments--both the wonderful one and the terrifying one--pass.

I lift my hand to turn off the radio.

Fuck that. 

I return my hand to the steering wheel and let the song play on. 

I go back to singing along with it. 

I don't care that I am 58 years old.  I don't care that my hair is gray, my beard, white.  I am young inside.  You can call it delusion, or trying to turn back the clock, or stupid, or whatever.  I don't care. 

If I live to be a hundred, I hope songs still light the passions in me, bring back my youth, and leave me happily singing along with them.


Rosanne said...

Its great that you kept on singing! In 2010, I got the news that I have a serious illness. Medication that works well for this illness is still in the research phase, and I hope to get into a drug trial. I no longer have health insurance, cause as my illness progressed, I was fired. I'm 57, and I'm actually doing ok, considering, as my biggest vice is buying books, and I can still get them from the library to read. I have good genes also. Some of the women in the family have lived till close to or a bit over the century mark. I am going to keep singing along to the radio, keep writing (music, poetry, whatever comes to mind), keep doing artwork, keep doing all the things I love to other words, keep living. There is a book called "Present Moment, Wonderful Moment". I'm not always great at it, but that's the thought I try to keep in mind. (I know I probably sound a bit strange)

Michelle said...

Sometimes I will catch my reflection in an oddly placed mirror and wonder who is that woman? I feel like I did in college, I viciously throw away any brochures from AARP, as they can't possibly be referring to me. I car dance to the Killer's, Mr. Brightside. I am far too young to be old. Then, like you, I realize that the majority of my life is behind me. I clutch for a moment, panic for another moment and then decide, screw that, what the hell, you are never to old to sing at the top of your lungs to Bon Jovi.

Mark said...

Thanks for the kind words, Rosanne and Michelle. I think all we can do is to try to keep enjoying each moment available to us.

Rosanne said...

Know I probably did a TMI comment. I loved getting to see another video about a PT employee's sabbatical and the opportunity your employees have to reach out, get involved and help others. Its so awesome that opportunity is there for them!

Mark said...

Thanks for the kind words about the sabbatical program. We're so glad to be able to help a little.


Blog Archive