I’m too young to be eighty four

Here is a message I received from one of my grandkids this week. “Hey JB, it’s your birthday, and you just turned 84, I know you will live for many, many more.“ I sure hope I do. I understand that I’m getting a bit older and that I cannot ignore life’s ending. But I’m not going to set around like some Shakespeare character thinking about death. I would hope it is much more productive for me to make the most of my current state in life.  Play the cards we are delt. Then anticipate a lingering good ride. 
I have seven grandchildren in all, but only two live in Louisiana. The others are spread across the country from one coast to the other. My four children pay me a little attention, but the grandkids are special, and teach me as much as I share with them. There’s a Neil Young song that says,” It’s better to burn out then to fade away.” But perhaps it’s better to burn slow and see your grandchildren as one gets older.
I do miss my children, as it has become harder to travel. Yes, I think I’ve been a pretty good father. Perhaps less in the early years, when I was busy jousting with windmills in a quixotic and fruitless effort to make a difference as a public official. But it was a waste. It made little difference. And now they’re caught up in their own lives with not enough time to spend with their patriarch.
There are tidbits of inspiration that have come from my relationship with my children, particularly when they were young. I’d like to think that I have lived part of my adult life as a stalled adolescent but contentedly stalled. In fact, it’s helpful as a writer who sees events through the eyes of a child. Children see things without presuppositions. They are unmeasured by experience.
And one more thing I keep in mind. I’ve learned that if you want to be a success in your chosen profession, don’t become consumed. Life is too short. Remember what Oscar Wilde admonished.
Put your genius into your life, but only your talent into your work.
There is so much uncertainty over a lifetime, often too many choices to be made, and forks in the road that can be life changing. We all can speculate on decisions we have made in the past. But such aera reviews are little more than glancing thoughts for me. I generally find that second guessing is vastly overrated.
I was a big Billy Joe Shaver fan before he passed away too early in life. We were friends, and I attended many of his concerts. He told me don’t worry about how life ends, and he just assumed he was going to live forever. And that was the name of his best-known song.
I’m gonna live forever
I’m gonna to cross that river
I’m gonna to catch tomorrow now
Nabokov even sets the speed of life that is moving so quickly, too quickly. Forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour. I would hate to think that my later years are part of some runaway train.
So if I’m winding down at close to 5000 heartbeats an hour, the question simply put is how many heartbeats do I have left? I want to make the most of the time and not live wasted days. What’s the Bruce Springsteen song?
How many summers staring at nothin’?
How many days are lost in vain?
Who’s counting now these last remaining years?
How many minutes do we have ahead?
Wasted days
Wasted days
No one knows how many heartbeats I have remaining, and medical professionals are of little help. Although one needs more medical care as they age, I find doctors will offer too many options. I’m my own best decision maker. That’s why I’m not eating as much, probably take way too many vitamin pills, work out on a regular basis and get more than enough sleep. If the hourglass has been apportioned for me, I’m going to try my best to control my own destiny.
I guess I can sum up my search for a balance life in country singer Toby Keith’s song about dodging death, “Don’t let the Old Man In.” I’m sure going to try.

Peace and Justice
Jim Brown

Check Also

China rising

Thomas FieldsThomas “Tuffy” Fields is an author and regular contributor to The Gazette. He can …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *