Tomorrow I turn, ahem, 50 years old. This is a pretty big landmark, reached by most individuals no more than once. It's strange to have been young all one's life, strongly conditioning one's self-image, and then increasingly to find that one is no longer so. That being said, I weigh the same and am in better aerobic shape than when I was a college or law student. I also would make short work of my past self if we played, say, racquet sports against each other. But alas, all this requires eating a lot less and exercising a lot more. I also increasingly get all sorts of aches and pains that I didn't know as well back then. Some days you just don't feel that good, once you reach this stage. I now have to do regular exercise and stretching routines for nearly every body part that is potentially injurable in sporting activities. I also need reading glasses unless the print is large and/or the lighting great. And dessert now often inspires something of the same mute horror that I assume mice bring to thinking about cats.
"Youth is wasted on the young" may be trite, but that doesn't mean it's true. (It's not.) Certainly it would have helped me, back in the past, to know some of the things I know now, but then again my tolerances have changed so as to remain age-appropriate. (Being a student was okay back then, but I'd hate to relive it now.) I'd say I'm a lot more contented now, albeit more careworn because I have more responsibilities. At and to this point, various life issues (personal and career) that were unpredictable thirty years ago have gone in what I feel were good directions. Who knows if this would still be true if one could turn back the clock and play it out again. If offered that deal, I would definitely say no and keep what I have.
I was lucky not to experience much death among people I was close to, for a very long time. Lately, not so lucky, as is inevitable when you keep going. Still, I'm hoping for a respite, and also for a very long time before my own decay gets too advanced. And with that cheerful thought, accompanied by a lot of genuine gratitude for so much of the past and present, I will close these reflections.