• Last modified 1582 days ago (Feb. 19, 2015)


A personal wake-up call

I know I have said several times in recent years that I am “older than dirt.” Most days I think that is so. Some days I think I am still 15, 20, or 45. If you are my age, you know what I mean. If you are in any of the previously mentioned age groups, you probably have no idea.

At some point in August of this year, my high school class will celebrate its 50th high school reunion. I remember at our graduation, the class that graduated 50 years before the class of 1965 was invited to attend and be recognized. Many of them did just that and there was a good-sized group. They looked pretty old to me and I could not fathom reaching such an age. Well, guess what? The class of 1965 is there, just as the class of 1915 was when we graduated.

So far my class has not been asked to appear at the graduation of the DeKalb High School class of 2015 and I am glad. I don’t want to be one of those people who look “older than dirt” when I go back to my hometown. In my hometown, I want to look like am, oh, maybe 45. Yes, I am vain about that and yes, I know looking like a 45-year-old is not going to happen, but I do think about it.

However, while this age thing can be a point of humor, it also can be a wake-up call. From the time we are born, we are pointed in the direction of the end, although it usually seems far, far away.

This past weekend I learned that two people my age have been dealt a hand that they were not expecting. One is a woman a few years younger than I and in apparent good health, who had a hemorrhagic stroke on Feb. 1 and has only regained movement of her toes. The other is a partner in a successful business who raised a family, enjoyed water sports, and served several terms in local government. He recently has been diagnosed with a degenerative disease.

These are things that happen to people we know and about whom we care. As we age we should not be surprised when the afflictions and problems that felled our parents and members of their generation suddenly seem to be parked on our own doorsteps. However, during our day-to-day existence, it often seems as though we still have all the time in the world to do those things that we want or need to do. So I think that as we coast along thinking maybe we still look like we are 45, time has its way with each of us.

Now and then reality just reaches out and we are caught. How much time and how can we get it all done? Of course, I have no answers. It always has been hard to lose people we love and admire, friends we appreciate, and those we think are too young or valuable to have left us.

Maybe just a hint here from the stories of two people whose lives have recently changed radically – do not wait. Whatever might be on your “bucket list,” get after it. Do as much as you can today because you may not be able to do it tomorrow.

— susan marshall

Last modified Feb. 19, 2015