Kids can’t wait to grow up: When will I be old enough to go to school, to date, to drive, to drink, to be on my own?
Fifty or so years later, they wonder how and when it happened?
At what age does time stop standing still and when, in what seemed like a single moment, does it move full speed ahead?
I didn’t think I would ever reach my 16 birthday and get my driver’s license.
I wanted to be on my own, to go where I wanted when I wanted, to do what I wanted, or so I thought.
Getting the driver’s license didn’t make all the things happen as I envisioned.
First, I had to learn how to drive, with my parents’ help.
I had to obtain a license, with my parents’ help.
I had to have a car to drive, which had to be my parents’ car when available because all the money I had came from Woolworth’s.
I worked behind the candy counter on Thursday nights and Saturdays for 35 cents an hour, then finally when the minimum wage law was passed, for a whole dollar — enough to put gas in the car, which my dad eventually gave to me.
Life was OK, but I wanted a full-time job, one I really liked.
I wanted to meet a guy I really liked and respected.
I wanted to get married and have a family. Yes, 18 -year-old girls thought about things like that back then.
Time moved along in an orderly fashion.
I married, had three daughters, bought a house, earned a college degree, had the dream job I envisioned as a kid.
Life no longer was standing still, but I didn’t think about it much except when a significant birthday rolled around.
That is, I didn’t think about it much until people around me started talking retirement and then taking it.
I was old enough to get a discount at restaurants. In fact, I was traumatized the first time I was offered one.
Obviously, I thought, the waitress was delusional and needed to see her eye doctor.
I began coloring my hair, I changed face creams and attempted to put on eye liner, which I never did get right.
I increased my daily walk from one block to two blocks and cut dark chocolate peanut butter cups from my daily nutritional needs.
The year I turned 60 was a little daunting, but I didn’t realize how much until I started comparing my age with friends and acquaintances who were celebrating that age the same year.
“I didn’t know we were the same age,” I said to my husband one day after coming home from work where I had birthday cake with a co-worker who was celebrating her 60th.
“You are not,” he said. “You were 60 three years ago.”
Not so kindly, I brushed aside that comment.
That night, instead of sleeping, I thought about my age.
I was not that far from retirement, from receiving social security.
At what age does time stop standing still and when, in what seems like a single moment, does it move full speed ahead.
It was time to refurbish my stash of of dark-chocolate peanut butter cups.