Tortoise love, Age, Medicare & Me
Posted December 10, 2010on:
My great nephew is a chick magnet. At a family wedding in October, Luke was surrounded by little girls who all wanted to dance with him.
And why not? He is charming and debonair. And he looks very good in a tux, especially when the tie this ringbearer wore was loosened later in the evening.
After watching and listening to the men in the family make toasts, including his dad and especially the great speech-giver Grandpa Andy, he asked for his turn at the microphone. You would think someone his age might be shy, but he was not a kid who blanks and says, “I forget” when given a chance to speak to a group.
No, Luke told the happy couple, “I love you as much as a tortoise loves another tortoise.”
It brought down the house.
And later on the dance floor, surrounded by those admiring little girls, he told them proudly, “I’m 5.”
They very much admired this older lad; perhaps dreaming of the time they would reach his exalted age.
And so we dream of arriving at that special age – always illusive – during must of our lives. For my son, Michael, a big moment when he was in day care was turning 5 – then under Wisconsin law he could become what is known as a “non-napper.” Big stuff.
Preschoolers think they will have arrived when they reach kindergarten. And once there think you have really made it when you are in third grade because then you can ride your bicycle to school.
Then sixth grade is big stuff because they even have dances in middle school. Eighth grade you get to rule the roost. You are top stuff.
I remember when Maggie was in middle school and told a friend of our family that next year she was going to be in eighth grade and cool, while Amy would still be in seventh grade. Amy noted that the following year, she would be cool while Maggie was a ninth great dork.
But the year after …
And then there’s getting your driver’s license and your senior year of high school when you are again at the top of the heap followed by the scary freshman year of college and so on and so on.
Oh, I knew I would have made it when my kids no longer needed diapers and no longer needed childcare. Then, we’d be rolling in the dough.
For so much of your life you can’t wait until you are …
I always figured that there comes a time when you stop looking forward to getting older. How many of us want to reach the point where you spend way too much time talking about your ailments, about ways that your body is rebelling against its lost youth?
When asked to give my age or date of birth as you need to do constantly at the clinic, I frequently add, “I used to be younger,” as if that was a truth only for myself.
I don’t want to get old, although I seem to be working on it daily. If you stick around long enough, I often say, you get to be old.
And after battling cancer this past year, it will be a pleasure to be old (I think).
But at no time did I as a little kid, who incidentally was the youngest in all of my classes including my high school class of nearly 500, ever look forward to what I’m eager to reach now.
With all the craziness in the healthcare system, with the Republicans wanting to repeal healthcare reform, I dread the time in a year when our Cobra runs out. Then we will have to apply to the state’s High Risk Plan and hope it will not be gutted by the new Republican administration in Wisconsin.
Yes, the age that I’m looking forward to is 65.
Never in all of the milestones of my earlier life and the drive to be older did I ever think out of my mouth would come, “I can’t wait to be old enough for Medicare.”
But to paraphrase my great nephew Luke, “I’m 58.”