09 April 2015

Aging Thoughts

For some aging occurs physically: more joint pains, more stiffness in rising from chairs and sofas, less vigor when climbing stairs. I speak from some experience. Aging also appears physically in the drying of skin—the parchment-like appearance of the skin on my legs and arms, the sun spots and skin discolorations that record the history of the various vain sunburning episodes at the parks and beaches of my youth. 
     There are other physical signs of aging: beards that gray, waistlines that expand and sag, eyes that pop up over expanding and darkening bags. There is more but the list begins to depress me.
     However, there are also some milestones in time that mark my aging, and the two occur this year almost simultaneously. My older daughter turns 26 years of age and is now no longer covered by my health insurance. Notice of this termination came in yesterday's mail. This event marks one more move forward in her independence and one less care that I must and can proffer. Now, I can only worry but do little and hope that her soon-to-occur employment provides a wonderful health care option or that the Affordable Care Act remains intact. I sense a declension in my sense of being a father.
     And then the younger daughter turns 21 years of age and becomes an adult in the eyes of at least the bars. This, too, marks a move towards her independence and one more item about which I can worry. And still, how am I less the father?
     And so this aging process proceeds physically limb by limb, and emotionally neuroses by neuroses. I’m thinking of Joni Mitchell’s composition, “Song to Aging Children”: This is one.

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