Aging as a Journey

Each year requires a bit more energy to blow out the candles on one’s birthday cake. Though I don’t yet require an oxygen tank for that task, I do feel the increasing effort to accomplish physical tasks (no matter how small) about which I used to think almost nothing at all. Around the next birthday corner for me lurks my seventy-eighth year. The number has, for me at least, more immediate power than the word itself.

In fact, as I approach the monumentally powerful threshold we call “eighty,” the more I envy those who are perhaps on edge about turning forty or fifty, ages to which we attribute revelation and sharp awareness, based often upon a combination of courage and revelation about what it means to be “still hanging around.”

I’ve known people personally, who, even just turning a mere thirty, couldn’t cope with what they too often perceived as being a step nearer the cemetery. What I believe most strongly about in facing those birthday cakes after age thirty, is that we all need things which we can look forward to. Any plan to accomplish something, even if it’s just to paint the kitchen, widens our view and produces a sense of purpose and meaning.

Also, no one must age alone. Everyone among family and friends who is still living has something to look forward to, even if only dinner with a friend. There is no living person who is not growing older. We’re all aging, and the older a person is, the more he or she can (and should) appreciate every hour of every day as a gift or extension of life and the mysterious power it endows upon every breath each of us takes, until that final “rest” comes to pay its last visit.   JB

About John

About John John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BS and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado, where he resided for ten years before moving to Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth book is, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014. John’s most recent book is a novel titled Resisting Gravity, A Ghost Story, published the summer of 2018 View all posts by John →
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