I’m 56 now and have been for the past four months. Seems like it was just the other day that I turned 55 and crossed the threshold into Senior Citizen Discounts and free coffee at McDonald’s. These past couple of years I’ve noticed my memory slipping here and there and I will pause when it happens and remind myself that it’s not Alzheimer’s if I can’t find my keys – it’s when I don’t know what the keys do that I really have to worry. That will appease me for a few moments and then I’ll go back to being pissed off because I still can’t find my damn car keys.
And it’s not only the car keys I struggle with. Yes, over the past few years I’ve found the butter hidden discretely in the freezer, the aluminum foil tucked neatly in the vegetable bin, and the dog food in the bird food tote. I call breakfast dinner and dinner lunch and I can’t seem to say the day of the week out loud without it sounding like a word mashup game. The red hairs that once graced my head are too tired to keep producing color; now they just come in white and say the hell with it. I don’t blame them. I tried to walk around the block last week and almost had to take a nap half way around.
But I digress…
Wait, what was I talking about?
Oh yeah, my memory loss.
But just when I think things are starting to get out of control and perhaps I should go talk to a doctor about the fact that I couldn’t remember where I parked my car at the mall last week after two hours of hapless shopping, I hear a song come on the radio from 35 years ago and, before I know it, I am singing my heart out – every word easily rolling off the tip of my tongue and every note perfectly remembered. Yes, I might not recall whether I wore my black pants to work yet this week but let me here Don McClean singing “American Pie” and not only can I recite every syllable to perfection but I can name the bar I danced on with my three best friends while that song played on the jukebox and I can even tell you who had to drive us home that same night because none of us were fit to be on the road.
God, I miss those days…
But, if I had to choose (and, apparently, I do) then I’ll take being able to remember all those wonderful, fun, laugh-out-loud moments of my youth – along with 40 years of music, concerts and wanting my MTV over whether or not I can find the butter when I need it. The Father, Son & Holy Ghost might have caught the last train for the coast but I’m still here in the house I grew up in, rocking it out on a Wednesday night. At least for a little while longer. Got to get to bed by 9 or there will be hell to pay in the morning!