It’s probably just something you notice more as you age, the mortality of it all. I remember back when I worked at Annies, and we had newspapers around all the time. We had regulars that would come in, grab a paper and start at the obituaries. They would make jokes about how they were just making sure they weren’t listed. I always thought about how sad it was that it was the first thing they looked at. I was about 27 or 28 at the time. Now, at 52, I feel that. Except a hard copy of a newspaper is tough to come by these days.
2021 finished off by taking our beloved Betty White from us. We are still reeling from that, and now 2022’s Grim Reaper is hard at work, overachieving at intake volume. Yesterday alone we learned that Meat Loaf and Louie Anderson had been tapped. We have lost Sidney Poitier, Bob Saget, Dan Reeves and a few others and we are 3 weeks into this year. If I recall 2016 was kind of brutal like this. So we keep seeing the tributes, and walking down memory lane of the celebrities we grew up watching. Hell, I even read this morning that Arnold Schwarzenegger was in a car accident last night. Lay off, Satan!!! (Arnold is ok, by the reports I read.)
At the age of 52, an age I am ok with, I find myself in the middle of the “how young is too young to die” and the “they lived a nice long life” crowd. Betty was 99, knocking on 100 when she left us. I would think most of us would agree that she earned her rest, that she had a pretty good quality of life all of those years, and that it was just her time. But Bob Saget was 65, Louie Anderson was 68. That’s just too young! Right? Meat Loaf was 74, that’s fairly young when you are 52 looking ahead. I can’t say for sure what my current threshold of “too young” and they “lived a nice long life” is, but I would like to say it is somewhere in the 80s. I have known some people who are old klunks in their 30s and some ‘golden agers’ who are more lively and young at heart than some teenagers I know. It’s all relative, I guess.
We sure don’t get to pick how long we get to live. There are a lot of factors at play. Genetics can mess you up, accidents, illnesses. I have lost family and friends at very young ages, and I know some people who have defied every demon that could have taken them out early. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could all just drift off at an old age, peacefully, instead of all of the different things that potentially could befall us? We don’t get to decide that, I guess. Roll the dice, and live your life.
Somewhere along the line I decided that you get old if you let yourself feel old. The number doesn’t always mean anything. God willing, you keep yourself relatively healthy, and you can live a long life. But when do you start to feel old? Some mornings I roll out of bed and feel about 106. I think that can be about any of us, depending on what we did the night before. But mostly I am just happy to be up and at it. One of the girls at the gym said she doesn’t know how I am able to get there every day. I said, I don’t give myself a choice. I make myself do it. I didn’t for far too many years, and now that I know I can, I intend to for as long as I am able. I ran this tank to pretty low levels a lot of years, didn’t always treat myself very well, physically or mentally. I think I have found a better way now, even though that can still use a little improvement too. Time will tell.
I guess what I am getting at is that this year can keep up this pace if it wants to, we are here, and as long as we don’t see our names in the headlines, we are doing ok. The celebrities that die, whether young or not, had their time to live their lives, and that time ended. If we feel like a part of our youth died when we hear about another passing, just be happy you are still here to feel that emotion. Keep your heart young, even if that hair is going grey or just going away. Those are just symptoms, but you are still here and can treat your time here as a gift, and young people just don’t appreciate the gifts as much as us “old klunks” do. Happy Saturday, my people! (And just because I can, I will tack on a hearty GO PACK GO!!)