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Someone once whimsically commented that he didn’t know how he got over the hill without ever getting to the top. That unfortunately happens to most of us, but what I’ve noticed as I slide down that slippery slope on the other side is that time seems to reverse and though older, I’m approaching childhood once again. Allow me to explain.
When I was a toddler and just beginning to take my first unstable steps, like everyone else of that age I often lost my balance and fell. Once getting my sea legs I still took short steps with little legs, climbing stairs one at a time and walking slowly while bigger people were able to zoom past with longer strides. The world appeared to be moving at a more rapid pace but as I grew my surrounding got slower and slower until I myself was in the fast lane along with the others. Keeping up was a breeze, up until one day when for some unknown reason everything seemed to be speeding up again.
Not only did I gradually drop out of the fast lane while in motion, but everyone started talking faster and more softly. What the heck was wrong with them I wondered. What’s the rush and why must they mumble all the time? What happened to proper speech and enunciation? It finally hit me of course that I was regressing, re-visiting my childhood experiences but without the same awe and enthusiasm.
First came the slowdown, then the stairs got steeper and more precarious to climb or descend though my legs were no shorter, having to hold onto the bannister for balance. Forget about running, for soon even walking became and adventure, what with trying to keep in a straight line without stumbling or teetering from side to side. There’s nothing wrong with my brain, just my body that has decided to betray me and each New Year brings another treachery.
Besides all the physical similarities to childhood when I move, a more subtle yet no less annoying likeness is that I’m totally ignored by people in their prime, virtually invisible. I still think, still have ideas and tastes, likes and dislikes, opinions, needs, desires, hopes and dreams, but you wouldn’t know it by the movies and TV fare that passes for entertainment these days, none of which are made with me in mind. Pollsters are no more interested in my views than those of a two year old, perhaps even less since there are whole industries devoted to games and toys for infants while all they have for me are pills and diapers, yet another parallel I share with infants.
I’m euphemistically referred to as a Senior Citizen, but more realistically should be considered part of the Snap, Crackle, and Pop generation. While that sounds like another similarity shared with kids due to the breakfast cereal I eat, that title is fitting as a result of the noises my joints make whenever I move. However if it wasn’t for that abnormality, even I wouldn’t be sure of my existence.