When you’re two years-old, you only want to grow bigger; become older. By the time you hit three, you’re so proud of your age, you hold up fingers (not always the right amount) to show …
When you’re two years-old, you only want to grow bigger; become older. By the time you hit three, you’re so proud of your age, you hold up fingers (not always the right amount) to show off your years. Pride continues as you turn six, seven, eight and pretty soon you can’t wait to be a teenager because to most grade-schoolers, juveniles are beautiful creatures. They’re shaped like adults, but they behave like kids. You want to be one.
Finally you turn thirteen only to find out the teen years are fraught with hormonal changes that, in my time, were simply explained in one film that no one quite followed. So you embark on a treacherous journey through uncharted territory and somehow come out the other end never wanting to leave those years. The number twenty terrifies you. And then the inevitable happens; you become twenty and the only good thing about that milestone is you’re one year away from being legal in some states. If you’re already legal, becoming twenty-one is just another lost year.
When I turned twenty-one I thought life was basically over until someone said their best year was twenty-four. And so I looked forward to twenty-four and when it arrived, carefully took stock each day only to conclude it was not my best year. In fact, it was an awful year. I lost my job, boyfriend and my band was breaking up. Still, I was in my twenties unlike a close friend of mine who had just turned thirty; so old.
For some of us, the thirties marked a time of maturation. For me, they flew by in a blur and on my fortieth birthday, someone suggested I throw myself a party. “Why celebrate old age?” I asked.
“You’re not old,” said a friend adding, “It’s when you turn fifty that it’s all downhill. You’ve got some time.”
During my thirties and forties, I felt I had joined the ranks of fellow grown-ups; bought a house, had a child, got married (not necessarily in that order) and sooner than I could say ‘ouch’ the big five-oh was upon me. At first, nothing major occurred except belly fat; mounds of it that no amount of working out would melt. Someone should have warned me, which brings me to the sixties and the dire need for the Geezer/Biddy Owner’s Manual.
About a month ago I experienced a Posterior Vitreous Detachment known in the field of vision as a PVD. I was walking across the Callicoon Bridge with a friend when all of a sudden thousands of crows appeared in the sky. “Wow,” said I, “Look at all those birds.”
“What birds?” asked the friend as a snake-like shape slithered by my right eye.
I hightailed it to Northeast Eye Institute where they told me such an incident could blind a person. Apparently the vitreous, which shrinks and dries as we age (it happens to everyone) detaches from behind the eye and for most people this is unremarkable. If you have floaters, it’s probably already occurred.
In rare instances, however, the vitreous doesn’t want to let go and therefore can cause a hemorrhage (mine did) as well as pull on the retina, sometimes tearing it, sometimes ripping the whole thing off. This is where the Geezer/Biddy Owner’s Manual would have come in handy. Not that it would have changed anything. I just may have to visit the eye doctor more regularly. FYI, my eye is okay now. Meanwhile, I’m 67 and someone just told me it’s one big decline after 74 so I have a few years left before…you fill in the blank.
RAMONA JAN is the Founder and Director of Yarnslingers, a storytelling group that tells tales both fantastic and true. She is also the roving historian for Callicoon, NY and is often seen giving tours around town. You can email her at email@example.com.
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