Aging Is Not Child’s Play

Growing “old” isn’t something one notices all at once. He or she doesn’t gaze into a mirror and say suddenly, “Gee, I’m old.” A few gray hairs appearing all at once one morning  may be an early indication that one is reaching some kind of summit upon which he decides it’s all “downhill from here” or “uphill’ as the case may be.

American culture is perhaps one of the most unforgiving of that accumulation of years that can cause shudders of unrest or even disgust for some folks, even though hair color is probably the least disturbing of those shifts leading to final stages of one’s usually unpredictable time on earth. We are a youth-centered culture that has never really come to terms with aging, a part of life that should be considered mostly a time of increased knowledge, wisdom, and experience, though increasingly leaving out that imaginary comfort zone of  electronic devices, those symbols of modernity that can too easily fool us into believing that they are more important than they actually are in our collective quest for meaning and finding our way on that long human path.

I am only too aware that at age 78, though I am experiencing more memory glitches each year, none of those hijacked moments of recollection have proved at all dangerous so far. Being a codger comes with an automatic factor of forgiveness, which I plan to milk as long as possible. The time is approaching that will include, “Ah yes, poor John. You know he is getting on in years, but he can still walk into another room and remember why, and never forgets that there is water boiling on the stove for tea.”

It seems merciful to me that aging is gradual in most cases, my not yet having to wonder where I live or try to recall which is the brake pedal and which is the gas. Life doesn’t end when we blow out all those candles on the birthday cake, though I plan to have an air gun for my ninetieth celebration. Presumptuous? Probably, but presumption and daring are perhaps what can keep us going when those around us are ready to say, “Good night, Gracie.”  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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