Wednesday, December 15, 2010

When is older really older?

This Friday my personal odometer clicks over another year: 64. Since I've been sober, every year has been better than the last. There have been plenty of ups and downs but no major upheavals, and all the smaller changes I've been able to handle with grace. I've watched the years accumulate but without giving them much thought, just glad to be alive and to be sober in that life.

This time feels different somehow. In truth, I don't feel older, neither physically or emotionally than 2 weeks ago or yesterday. But I'm suddenly acutely aware of the time passing, of the mortality waiting around the corner. Perhaps not of the next block or the one after that but of a block not too far off.

I'm coming up on the age when people retire, when they sail off into the sunset with their long-term partner or their new lover. I'm coming up on the age when friends and acquaintances (or perhaps myself) will fall sick and they won't all recover. I'm coming up on the age when what's behind me is far longer than what's ahead.

I feel thoughtful, reflective, sobered by the realization that it won't go on forever. And I feel this in some deeper part of myself, not just the logical, intellectual understanding that we dismiss and go on as if we have all the time in the world. But in the knowing it's true.

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