This past May, I turned 47 years old, just three years from reaching the first half-century of my life – and I’m already starting to experience the many difficulties that come with aging, the same difficulties also faced by not only my own generation, but also my older brothers and their respective generations. But then, I shouldn’t be surprised – I’m sure that past generations have had to accept the fact that they can’t remain young forever, and that reversing the aging process is, at this point, impossible, despite the advances in both science and technology in recent years. And I doubt that the Fountain of Youth and the Shangri-La depicted in Lost Horizon would certainly help us aging baby boomers regain our youth, partly because they’re either myths or fictional concepts.
In the past few years, I’ve come to accept the fact that I’m not as young as I used to be – as well as make the most out of my life, partly because a number of life-changing experiences (and a few near-death experiences) during that time span has changed me in several ways, including being a bit more cautious as far as doing certain things are concerned. Believe me, even a car accident like the one my mother and I were in a few years ago can make you see things in a new light – though it can also cause you to drive your family nuts once in a while.
There’s another aspect of growing old that can be unsettling at best – and it has more to do with those even older than you, like your parents – and the changes that they have to endure in the last years of their lives. This past July, my mother turned 85 years old – and already, she’s had to endure a number of changes that are, at best, a mixed blessing. For one thing, she’s no longer allowed to drive her own car (or for that matter, any car), partly because my mother would have to pay more for auto insurance if she was still driving – and while I understand my brothers’ decision to convince Mother to stop driving (for not only her own safety, but also everybody else’s), I also feel sorry for Mother since it tends to curb her personal independence a bit. Add to that Mother’s increasing health problems, and you can truly understand what my generation has to face as far as our concerns for our aging parents are concerned. The situation facing my family as far as my mother’s concerned parallels, in some ways, the situation we had to face during my father’s last ten years following a crippling stroke (on my mother’s 57th birthday in 1984), which brought about emotional pressure on us – including my father, who could never return to what he loved the most – namely, teaching American history. Father’s last decade was a difficult time for not only my family, but also my other relatives and friends, who realized that the energetic person who they knew was, for the most part, gone forever – and yet, even today, they still remember him for what he did best in his prime, and what he meant to everybody who knew and loved him.
In the long run, nobody can predict what the future can bring – including myself. The best we can do as we get older is to move forward and carve our own futures, regardless of whatever obstacles we face on a daily basis – and pray, at least, that they turn out to be better, if not perfect. Even in a less-than-perfect world in which its problems already dwarf our own.
John Lavernoich is the author of the novels Code Name: Chameleons and Chameleons To The Rescue, as well as various non-fiction articles and short stories that have been published in print and on the Internet – to learn more about Mr. Lavernoich and his writing achievements, please visit his official website (http://johnlavernoich.sharepoint.com), as well as his pages on Windows Live Spaces (http://cid-ef88d131988ab38f.profile.live.com), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/john.lavernoich?ref=name), MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/jlavernoich), Twitter (http://twitter.com/JLav65), and WordPress (https://johnlav.wordpress.com). Mr. Lavernoich also maintains his own video channel on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/JLav65?feature=mhsn) as well as his own Author Spotlight page on Lulu Books‘ website (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Highroad).
©2012 John Lavernoich.