25 ago. 2011

The plights of old age

I remember my grandmother in the big house, watching television all day long, shouting when she spoke because her hearing was bad, getting helped into the shower by the maid. There were shelves and shelves of neglected books on philosophy and literatura from her happy days as a profesor, now caked in dust. I don’t want to end up like this, I thought. My craft, after all, is not to dance ballet, I can do it for as long as the pen does not tremble too much in my wrinkled hand. I will do yoga all my life to be fit and flexible when I’m old, not like my grandmother who would take a cab to the café down the block. I will be successful, proud of all my published books and numerous recognitions, proud of having changed lives in the classroom, hand in hand with the love of my life and our beauiful offspring. But then again, when I was little, I imagined myself at the age of twenty already having published a novel, with an adorable boyfriend, having seen much more of the world than I have, studying at some university abroad. Life has a way of making distances in time toward your goals expand, expand, and expand through some circumstance or another. However, I have always thought of the time in a lifespan as ever different, always new, because never before were you thirty, or forty, or fifty-two, and I have always disagreed with my peers who want to die a spectacular death in their late twenties to never know the plights of old age. I want to know life, to know it to the fullest degree possible, I always thought. But there are some fears. Watching my mother age, and having aged myself a little, I wonder if life really is always new. With my mother it seems to be the same depression, the same traumas, the same resentment. The same unfulfilled dreams, only different television shows on primetime. It seems that life passes you by, whizzing past all those goals that kept getting farther and farther away from your reality, and on the other hand drones on, leaving you stuck in the same spot you’ve always been. Reflecting on these matters gives me a feeling of restlessness, of insatisfaction. The plights of old age is probably just a different version of the plights of youth and the plights of middle age. Except that on top of everything, you are wrinkled and practically deformed, you have no energy, you are invaded with disease, and nobody expects anything new from you. If it really is that bad, I guess I will submit to oblivion and smoke opium for the duration of my elder years for, after all, what is the emminence of death good for if not to enjoy all the pleasures that kill you softly?

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