It’s an insidious little process. It begins small. Unannounced. Definitely without your permission. And yet it continues to gather speed, no matter what you do about it. In time — usually over a period of blinking, unbelieving years — the process peaks. The deed is done.
You are no longer the person you see looking back from those graduation and wedding pictures around the house. That was then; this is most definitely now. You should have know that morning when you reached down for your morning paper. Can you remember? The sudden realization (1) you just pulled a muscle you never knew you had before (2) you could swear you’ve seen that same headline before.
The ugly truth is (1) that muscle’s been there ready to atrophy for years (2) yes, you’ve seen that headline many times before, only with different names and dates.
Rather quickly now this surge sweeps over you. You’re forgetting names, telephone numbers, car keys …skirts and pants insist upon shrinking on you…your class in the alumni news is reporting as many deceased as arrived…the cops, quarterbacks, and stars in your world have treasonously become younger than you…. movies and television are all beginning to look alike….and those new medical breakthroughs, haven’t you heard these same promises and their counter-promises before?
You start remembering.
Dad used to doze off at holiday dinners. Mom had a hitch more than a skip to her step. For so many years now they had remained the same. Or had they? Had I? Had anything? The rivers flow into the deltas and the deltas mingle into the oceans. It’s the image of time moving on, and everything and everyone along with it. But as the ancient Greeks wrote: No one can jump into the same river. And so it is, none of us can be the same us.
How does that grab you…? For those who don’t much like who they were, it’s that second chance all those how-to books are always writing about. For those who kinda like who they were, the current will carry them too. The thing to remember is this. We’re all traveling the same river. We’re all trying each in our own way. And the trying is what is called life…
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