A number of things happen as you get older, most of which aren’t good. Various body parts don’t function like they did in the good old days. Your memory starts to go, too, although in some respects that’s not all bad.
I bring this up because my high school class recently had its 45th reunion. If we would have known this would happen 45 years ago, many of us would have been surprised. A lot of us didn’t realize people could actually live that long.
Then there’s the whole time thing. One of the true mysteries of life is how as you get older, time moves faster. Forty five years ago, we were all bored and couldn’t wait until enough time went by so we could get out of school and do something interesting. Then we blinked and here we are 45 years later. Man, we’d like to have some of that time back.
But it’s not all bad. I’m going to get a little philosophical here, but don’t worry, it won’t last long. I’m at an age when I can still remember 45 years ago so I want to get this out before it’s too late.
Here’s the one thing that being older teaches you: appreciation. After you’ve been around for a while, visited some other places and even some other countries, watched your children grow up and your grandchildren be born, you start to understand that growing up in Troy, Ohio, was a pretty good deal.
Sure, there were problems, but they were what a friend of mine calls “First World Problems.” Most of us weren’t wondering whether there would be a next meal or whether a bomb might fall on our heads during the night. Well, except for the early 1960s, when the Americans and Russians almost nuked the whole planet and we used to spend time in first grade doing a “nuclear bomb” drill where we would hide under our desks, as if that would do any good. I guess there was a bit of tension back then.
Still, I count myself very fortunate when I think about my parents and my brothers (well, most of the time) and the town where I grew up.
Spending time with old classmates made me think of something else I once took for granted. When I was a boy, I was fortunate enough to have some great friends. The guy who grew up next door to me and one of my best pals from way back in the first grade were at the reunion and I realized how important they were in my life. I guess when I was growing up I thought they just happened to be there and there wasn’t anything special about it. I know better now.
My best friend from high school was there, too. I guess I’m mostly thankful we managed to escape getting caught back there 45 years ago. Teenagers can do some stupid things. Actually, I know that 45 years later I can call on him for anything and he’d answer.
Oh, and my old high school girlfriend was there. Woo-hoo! Of course, I’ve been married to her for 43 years so it wasn’t a surprise.
It was quite a party. In the old days, it would have gone on until the next day. But by 11 p.m. or so everyone was heading home. It was already past our bedtimes and most of us don’t have the same kind of party stamina we used to have.
There were lots of stories I could tell you (and some I can’t) but my back hurts, I’m getting tired and I’m having trouble remembering all the details. Besides, all this heavy thinking is hard work. Maybe I’ll come back to the topic again in five years if we all make it to No. 50.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.