In a few days I will be sixty four years old. As the saying goes, “Life is what happens while you're making other plans.”
The woman in this photo could have been me. There was a time when I danced in the waves of a sunlit beach, not caring how I looked. I was young and free and happy, dancing in the salty water, and then along with the Calypso music at night, later making love on a darkened beach with only the mesmerizing shimmer of the moonlit water as it lapped the shores. Is it any wonder that this is where my mind drifts, when someone says I should find my most serene, gentle place in which to meditate, reflect, relax? I am twenty three again and the memories are as clear as if everything happened yesterday.
Then, I look in the mirror and vow to never do that again. I can't understand people who say they have earned every wrinkle. We should be born with a face full of wrinkles and every time you made it through a traumatic event, one wrinkle should be erased. Now that is something to look forward to. My face would be as smooth as a newborn. Why should I have to earn the privilege of having a face that shows trauma? I think my idea is better. Mark Twain wrote that people should be born old and grow younger as the years progress. That way they will know what they want to do with their lives. Now this makes complete sense to me.
In my case, youth really was wasted on me. I have never truly known what I wanted to do with my life. I haphazardly fell into my roles. And now what? They say it is never too late to change your life or live your dreams. But you know, sometimes it is.
I am not complaining about my life. I just wish I had done a few things differently.
I cannot make a list of lifetime achievements. I have many regrets, and I'll bet if you ask most people they will confess that they have too. I am at best an ordinary person who has lived an ordinary life. There have been great moments of happiness and earth shattering tragedies, just as most have experienced. But I think it is how you handle all these moments that truly define who you are and show how much gumption you possessed when needed.
When the Beatles first sang, “When I'm Sixty Four,” I was fourteen years old. I thought it was so sweet and endearing. I knew I would never be that old. Most of the time I don't mind, except for the pain,the memory loss and wrinkles.
Would I want to go back? Not for a second. Who the hell would want to go through all that again, if you couldn't change any of it? Besides, (and I never thought I'd be saying this), I can't wait to get on Medicare. That is if we still have it.
So, yes, I was young and free and danced on the beach. There's nothing holding me back from doing it again. I just have to remember the sunscreen and ace bandages and a good blanket, just in case I get lucky on that moonlit beach again, only this time, with my husband.
© Christine Geery