There is always a reason for regrets when one is 60. S-i-x-t-y! The person that used to be there, the true salt-of-the-earth person one was, is nowhere now. Alive, maybe, but kicking unstably. The wear and tear of years have started to sag the paunch and limp the tendons—all the grimness of time’s downward lug on the human anatomy. OMG, that stings. Boo-hoo-hoo!
Life lived is irreversible, something spent that can’t be recovered no matter what, like trying to put toothpaste squirted too much back into the cylinder.
Bald is beautiful, you say? The truth isn’t pretty. A 60-year-old person may still have some knucklehead in his soul and puff a Prosac-ian level of happy on a hyper-smiley face. Don’t let that delude you.
At over 70, with intimations of reaching the limits of mortality and energy turning from zip to zzzz, he becomes prone to dramatic mood changes. He feels there’s still so much to do and is hurrying to get them done, yet the body refuses to co-act as the will is suppressed by crippling limitations.
Trudging the diminished years of retirement, we sense a deep sentiment on the worthlessness of all kinetic mobility except to sit in front of a TV set and force a smile out of porcelain-perfect orthodontic teeth. Charitably called “eccentric” by people around him, he is given to impulsive suspicions, to persistent discontent, and to some sequestered grudges. The youthful beat, and dance-floor-ready hip persona has become a social solitaire, a lumbering dinosaur.
We’ve had our time on top. Known fat purses and roomy pockets. Filled our nights with longings for the unforgettable (what’s-his-name-again?) first love or for an imaginary lover. Ranted at sore backsides and rheumatic knees. Rattled between unruly rages and total forgetfulness—for something as simple as connecting faces to names—because the memory is too fragmentary to stay coherent.
However grim is the prospect of postponing life’s ebb, SMILE! Cool it. Chasing lost youth will not further expand horizons. Youth was then. Today is now.
Forget about clinging to the shadows of glory. Stomp on the what-ifs and if-onlys, and instead, embrace the richness (as well as the pains) of aging.
Forget about getting a face lift or wearing a hair piece. Wear your hair gray. Steady your baseball cap backward. Show up at class reunions with your favorite DI all dolled up but not overdressed. It’s soooo ugly! Buddy up with everybody. Take a lot of selfies. Be proud of your wrinkly smiles, or the belly growing thickly in the waist. Eat your broccolis. Put less sugar in your coffee. Sleep well.
You don’t have to run a marathon; crabwalk if you must, but just keep on moving. Riot in whatever floats your boat.
Life cannot be lived tomorrow. It must be lived NOW. Roll downhill on a skateboard if you dare despite the muscle atrophy, but graciously we must, like the way we did on a park slide as a child. There is a lot more to life than merely breathing till the last croak.
Photos by Diana B. Noche
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