The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.
The summer I was twelve years old was an idyll that seemed to stretch on forever. I remember bicycles and blue gills, sand and sunburn, row-boats, comic books, an old army blanket on the front lawn; and, when things got too hot, we retreated to a cool basement and spent the afternoon playing board games. The summer of 2010, my sixty-sixth summer, seems scarcely to have arrived and already it’s Labor Day. Who said “Time flies like an arrow?” It doesn’t matter. Groucho Marx made it funny and linguistically interesting when he added, “Fruit flies like a banana.”
For me, life has been flying like a rocket. It just keeps accelerating, and I suppose one day sooner or later the fuel will run out. I’ll let you know what happens then.
When I turned fifty, the AARP came calling. That was fifteen years ago and they sneaked into my life via junk mail. At fifty, I wasn’t really into the possibilities of AARP. For older people and our interests, AARP’s an effective lobby, sort of like ACORN before Andrew Breitbart and Fox News took them down. Still, long ago when the AARP solicitations began to appear, I did not take them seriously. Now the message is more immediate. I’m on Medicare. I’m paying attention. For most of my life the plight of people living on fixed incomes in the face of inflation was academic. Now I am one!
I’ve reached a time in my life when I can soak a fishing line from the bank of a river, sit on the back porch in the breeze and read a novel, or hang out with my cronies playing cards and talking smart. I certainly intend to do plenty of that! I’ve always been good at hanging out, and as for naps in the afternoon… no new thing. “When in doubt, get horizontal,” is for me a rule to live by. But what about the AARP? Somebody has to help steer. To the extent that AARP engages in advocacy for older people, I want my voice to be heard. To the extent that AARP takes positions on matters that matter to me–things like energy and the environment, poverty, nutrition, and social justice–I hope I can influence those positions. I’ve earned the right to participate. Of course, the quality of my participation is up to me.
AARP is looking for a few bloggers to cover their “Orlando@50+” gathering September 30 through October 2 in Orlando. They ask “What do you love about life after 50?” And I answer, “What’s not to love?” In the last few years, my dad had a stroke, my business collapsed, I had a back injury and a heart attack… if I threw in a train wreck, a prison, and a pick-up truck I’d have the makings of a great country western song. But it would just be one song among many. There are love songs in that jukebox, some blue grass, some get down rock and roll, some long-hair music too… rhapsodies, sonatas, and even a symphony or two. What I’ve been loving about this older age is the enjoyment I feel in slowing down a little. I’m glad to do some wood working, happy to tinker with the rototiller. I appreciate a shared meal, or a walk in the garden with Beth. I’m grateful too for acceptance I can now bring to bear on darker circumstances. The sun will come out tomorrow. What’s not to love?
I’m trying to blog my way to the AARP Orlando@50 conference. This blog post is an entry in their competition to find the official blogger to travel to and cover the event. Find out more about the conference here.