LIFE HAPPENS

Age gives us a new vision of life

GARY MATHENY
Posted 5/12/19

I feel as though I am living in a lost generation or maybe it is simply a sign of the times.Nowadays cruise-ins are a big event. I have friends who attend them and some participate, but I often …

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LIFE HAPPENS

Age gives us a new vision of life

Posted

I feel as though I am living in a lost generation or maybe it is simply a sign of the times.

Nowadays cruise-ins are a big event. 

I have friends who attend them and some participate, but I often wonder if the cruise-ins being referred to are for vintage cars or simply scooters.

We seem to be infatuated with motorized vehicles of all makes, models and sizes.

The other day my wife and I decided to start spring cleaning and we began on the screened-in porch.

I’m not sure about the area where you live, but the pollen was horrible this spring.

Our screened-in porch is where we live for practically nine months out of the year: spring, summer and fall.

We drink coffee and have our breakfast there, we share our lunches on the porch, we grill out on the deck beside the porch and I watch TV up until I retire to bed on the porch. 

We use our porch!

It seems the residual of winter's long months had accumulated very heavily and it took most of the day, wiping and sweeping in order to make the room presentable.

I stretched and bent, I lifted and moved, until I was too tired to do anymore.

I must say, as a younger man, the day would not have been as excruciatingly painful as this day was.

It took a day or two for the old bones to loosen up enough to not walk as though I had just had major back surgery.

I can honestly say, I am not as young as I used to be.

Life has taken on a different look as I climb that ladder to my golden years.

I see people hustling and bustling as they make their way through the day. I often sit at the red light and wonder why they are in such a hurry.

My mind will take me to days before my retirement, when I was one of those hurried people, rushing to make a deadline or an appointment.

Retirement and age have given me a new vision of what life should be.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could be free of any responsibility until you reach the age of ... say, 40?

In other words, you are retired while you are young and energetic, carefree and wild. 

You would be able to travel and do things while you are young, no sore muscles or aching backs.

At 9 o’clock, you would still be out having fun instead of sleeping in the recliner.

After you reach a good age of maturity and you are a more settled human being, then you could build a career and still have a good 20 years to invest before hanging it up to sleep in the recliner.

I know. I am dreaming, but I’m retired so what else should I do with my time?

I mentioned feeling as though I am in a lost generation. I stopped in a Shoney’s restaurant the other day and I heard Creedance Clearwater Revival playing on the sound system.  

I thought it's pretty cool that music from my generation is still being played in public businesses. Then it hit me. My generation is the only one still eating at Shoney’s!

The younger generation enjoys the sports-bar atmosphere, the plethora of large-screen TVs blasting every type of athletic competition you can imagine. 

This is while they are talking loud, laughing and being able to check their social media account on their smartphones.

I noticed a name tag on a young server the other evening, Jessica, and I politely mentioned the Allman Brothers did a fabulous instrumental called "Jessica."

The look I received made me sit back in my seat. 

Her response was, "Who are they?"

My wife looked at me as the young woman walked away and said sweetly, “She is too young to know who the Allman Brothers are.”

To this day, I can still name songs and singers of songs I listened to as I rode with my parents everywhere when I was young.

The voices of Conway Twitty, Hank Williams, Ferrin Young and George Jones all burned into my memory as Dad would sing along with them.

Some of my fondest memories are late-night trips to my grandmother’s home in Alabama, the old AM radio blaring the "Louisiana Hayride" show, as the static and the night wind coming in the windows dominated the silence.

How can anyone not know who the Allman Brothers are?

When she returned to the table, I asked her if she would allow me to text her the song. 

She agreed and I requested she respond back to me after she listened, but I never heard from her.

I left the restaurant that evening with an empty feeling deep in my soul as I realized my generation was riding into the sunset, like a lonesome cowboy with no home.

I know change is inevitable, constant and assured, but as I grow older I find that I just don’t like it.

I continue to listen to music from the 1960s and '70s: Spanky and Our Gang, The Young Rascals, Seals and Croft and yes, The Allman Brothers.

Life is coming full circle. Our children are now in the spotlight, as their children will be years from now.

I guess life happens.

———

  (About the writer:  Gary Matheny is retired after a long career in the pharmaceutical industry.  Now a Cleveland resident, he is the author of two books, "If The Shoe Fits" and "The Bullet." He also writes a popular blog, "Life Happens." Email him at gary.matheny@yahoo.com and follow him at his website, www.garymatheny.net.)

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