I’m think I’m starting to get old. I have all the usual signs. First, every day feels the same. I wake. I shower. I eat. I work. I eat. I work. I eat. I work. I sleep. I repeat. Second, I’m tired even when I wake up. Especially when I do. Third, I have to make lists to categorize my arguments. For example: the proof of my senescence.
Fourth, things take me longer. The opening paragraph alone took me thirty minutes, and despite all that time spent, it isn’t very good. There are about five words in that whole mess that I’m sure are worth a damn. Problem is I’m not sure which five and in which order. Worse yet, though, is that this paragraph has less than five.
I could pretend that such a dawdling tempo is just the showings of a shambled together maturity after writing some hundred thousand of words. Don’t old people cart off all their failings as life experiences?
But I – ironically because of the beginnings of decrepitude – know otherwise. So much more can happen in the span of thirty minutes than my introductory snafu. My mother gave birth to twin boys. All I did was push out a jumble of words from a brain that was screaming life to this page.
And besides, being old means very little in these verbal moments. In fact, a lifetime of experiences can be disastrous for the craft. Formulas often run their usefulness. Worn-out phrases tend to sound clunky. And when the two are put together in some kind of rhetoric flourish or flashy pretention, they don’t fit very well onto a page, let alone in a reader’s mouth. Nothing is gained; there are only sharp pains and authorial groans. There is blood in life lived, and it is spilled in between the black ink.
Fifth, I forgot my next point in my own moralizing.
Sixth, I have come to the reality that I have to shape up a plan for my life, little as may be left. At this point, I don’t think there’ll be a whole ton to mould together, however. I mean – look here. Here too. There it is racing past. Life’s leaking and I can’t seem to find the spout to stop the spread. So each day it oozes and I race after it and before I know it, morning’s come and I wake. I shower. I eat. I work. I eat. I work. I eat. I work. I sleep. And I repeat.
Seventh, my plan goes like this: smile.
It’s not too grand, I’ll admit, but old people are complacent with the little things. Bingo. Pudding. Hell – we’ve gone through enough to be happy with not shitting our pants when we rise after a night’s sleep. And if we are going to splatter, let’s be awake for the fiasco. Then at the very least we can shower and then eat and work and eat and so on and so on.
Eighth, my jokes aren’t funny. They weren’t funny before, but now they have a reason. Old age gives way for everything, and everything gives way to old age.
Ninth, things are more complicated now. Consider breathing. It is among the most automatic functions we have, and yet there are days when we can’t seem to find the breath in our lungs because a love walked by or we failed an assignment or is it really that hard to climb a flight of stairs? Stuck in the limbo of an inhalation and an exhalation, youth stultifies while old age creeps away one breath shorter and shorter and shorter at a time.
Tenth, I’m actually surprised I have gotten to ten. I look back to all I’ve written above and I’m wondering how the hell did I do it all.
Eleventh, I’m painfully self-referential.
Twelve, I’m painful.
Thirteen, I am.
Fifteenth, I know the last one didn’t make sense, but I’m old and forsaken and you’ll understand when you’re my age, dear reader. And besides, I can just pawn my sentence fragment as a speech impediment. I had one when I was younger, and I’m regressing back to that slobbery, farting, goo of a human being. Oh baby!
Sixteenth, I used an exclamation.
Seventeenth, I haven’t said anything useful in the last seven points.
Eighteenth, my idealism is charted, categorized, and dissected daily. Everything I do needs to be shone through the lens of purpose and intent. There are no free moments. If it’s good, I’ll do it. If it’s productive, I’m doing it. And if it’s in between, I’m going to do it soon enough.
Of course, there are off days. There always will be bad days. But I’m old. Bad days are carved in my soon-to-be wrinkled skin. And I’ve learned to keep chugging along. It’s gotten me this far.
Nineteenth, I’ve deluded myself into thinking I’ve gone anywhere so far.
Twentieth, I have written too many words, evidence of not knowing when to place a period. Like other dinosaurs still prowling this earth, I’m infatuated with my own voice. Who wouldn’t be? Look how right it is and look how old I am. Have I mentioned that yet? I can’t remember. If not, here is a reminder caught in between the spaces of my words.
Twenty-first, this all can be summed up in two words: life happened.
Twenty-second, I’m complacent that it did. Life always does. But that’s the point. It doesn’t end with death, though we are led to believe life does. People die; life doesn’t. It’s still moving on without us, giving lungs to a child or music to someone’s fingertips.
Twenty-third, after going on and on and on for no apparent purpose, I end abruptly and awkwardly.