I hear the whistle blowing


I have never been afraid of growing old.

Old age was always the time when I would be able to say “Hell no” to those many things we are guilted into accepting for way too long.

I looked forward to old age. I fully planned to be one of those purple-wearing, red-hatted, candy-eating old women who have no qualms about flashing my wrinkles and liver-spotted skin. And man, I fully planned to let the gray hairs shine!

Now, here’s the funny part (without any teeheeing) —this winter I’ve been hit with teensy-weensy bouts of panic when I think about growing old. I no longer want to get old.

I. Just. Don’t. Want. To.

Which I know is a daft feeling since we have little control over our departure time so I’ve been trying to figure it out and I’m somewhat certain (meaning not 100%) that it may have something to do with caring for Mom.

Like anybody, it’s hard watching our parents grow old. It’s mortality smacking up against your glasses as you listen for the whistle of the death train coming.

I watched her become sad. I saw fear take root in her where there never was. I watched her struggle with a growing lack of mobility. I felt her helpless and wasn’t able to take that burden off her—and I guess it’s made me despise, and despair of, old age.

I want no part of it now. I simply don’ t.

But logic reminds me we aren’t the conductors here so I guess there’s going to be more jack-in-the-box-mini-panic twitches until I figure out how to look forward to old age again. Because, if I keep fretting—old age will be like a train rushing downhill towards me.

Shit. . . I wish I hadn’t thought of the train analogy . . . now all I can hear Johnny Cash singing his old time songs, Blue Train and Folsom Prison Blues.


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