When you reach middle age and view your life from that vantage, there are things you need to know.
Like what to expect on the downhill slide that you never thought of on the climb up your mountain of time.
For years I believed I would die in my 30s. Why? Because I could never picture myself or my life past the age of 39.
Even lying about my age – which I did regularly – would only buy me an extra seven or eight years.
I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong.
I turned 40. And then 50. My 60s came. And went.
When I was 67, I attended my 50th high school reunion.
There were 390-some in my class. About 65 made it to the reunion.
I expected people to change in 50 years, but was surprised they’d grown old while I aged hardly at all.
A few names were vaguely familiar, but the same didn’t hold for the faces.
There are other “surprises” that come with the passing of time.
Your health takes a few hits.
So, too, does the health of your friends.
You wonder why one person seems to have dropped off the radar and then one day you open an email and discover she has stage 4 cancer and has started chemotherapy.
Another writes that a heart issue put her in the hospital for a couple of days but she’s back home now.
Store clerks give you the senior discount without asking to see your driver’s license.
You turn around and notice things that need fixing in your home. Unfinished tasks which you have neither the energy nor inclination to tackle.
In childhood an hour’s wait was a lifetime or close to it.
Now seasons pass in the blinking of an eye and years run together.
There’s no stopping time, either.
It may not be full twilight yet but like cloud cover, the years block more of the light than they used to.