What “Good Old Days”?

Old people–sometimes mid-lifers, too–are known for their tendency to talk endlessly about “the good old days.” I don’t do that.

Yes, of course I remember a few good things from my childhood and youth and occasionally mention them to someone. But not as many things or as often as some people I know. Too much of my young life was darkened by an unwanted move when I was eight years old.

I’d never expected to be uprooted and have to leave friends and familiar things–my whole life, seemingly–and relocate to a new city in another state and start life all over again from scratch. I was hurt and angry. So I wasn’t inclined to try to adjust. Consequently, I spent a number of years growing fatter and more miserable.

Not exactly what I’d call “good old days.”

Moving away from there was a pleasure–I wouldn’t have cared where we went–and I hoped things would be better with the new city. I was a pre-teen then, however, and growing into adolescence is tough–no matter what.

But when I came down with acute viral encephalitis during the eighth grade and almost died, what hope I might’ve had for a better life seemed to die, even though I lived. Recovery was long and stressful, and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt nearly as strong and “normal” as I had before.

I can’t say whether my very small store of memories from childhood and my early teen years is a result of the encephalitis, but the memories I have are sketchy and sporadic. I don’t remember that much about high school or college, either. Even a lot of my adult life seems to be blurred or at last hiding in some inaccessible spot in my brain.

All of that to say I am not an old person who thinks back to the good old days. I remember too many days that aren’t worth talking about and too few to bother talking about.

If I  sound miserable talking about my past, I apologize. The fact is I’m not overly concerned about a past that seems, well, to be so very far in the past. I’m more interested in the present, anyhow. And in the future.

Being able to wake up every day and function just as well as I did the day before is more wonderful than you can imagine. Productive projects that keep me productively busy are definitely something to be thankful for. And the assurance of Heaven someday is far beyond wonderful.

I’m not in a rush to get there, you understand. But I’m thankful I have eternal life in God’s presence to look forward to. It will be perfect in every way this earthly life has so often proven imperfect.

What about you? Are you focused on the past, the present, or the future? How about leaving a comment?

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

 

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The “Good Old Days” That Weren’t

r1958-2    t-r1963    Flatlanders

If I recall correctly from the days of my youth, one of the things we hated most about older people was the way they talked about “the good old days.” Especially the days when they were our age.

Well, not me. I wasn’t thrilled with that time in my life.

As a Preacher’s Kid who didn’t know that moving came with the territory until my father announced his resignation at the end of the worship service one Sunday, I was miserable. I was eight years old at the time, and that’s one of the only times I remember crying as a child. I didn’t want to leave the town we were living in.

So I unconsciously decided to hate the city we moved to. I don’t recall a whole lot about that place. Not a whole lot good, anyhow. I gained a lot of weight—I remember weighing 148 in the sixth grade and having people at church talk about what a cute little fat kid I was.  Although I had friends in the neighborhood, we weren’t close in a permanent kind of way.

My parents were so concerned about my misery that they fully supported my becoming a safety patrolman. Whether that brought me out of my shell any further, I couldn’t say.

So when we moved to another city, it was such a relief from the one I’d hated so much that I was bound to like it better.  But lo and behold, the mayor prevented schools from opening on time in his resistance to integration. I don’t know how many Saturdays we had to attend school to make up for lost time, but I resented it—and Mayor Duckworth, whom I considered not to be worth a duck.

During my eighth grade year, I came down with acute viral encephalitis and was in a coma for several days. Although I survived and was not left a vegetable as the doctors feared I might be, my recovery took forever and left me without nearly as much stamina as I’d had before.

As the son of the Preacher, I often felt like I was left out of things. The kids at church were nice enough, but I didn’t really feel close to them. I was starting to like girls then but shy about admitting it. I dated very little, but enjoyed hours of telephone conversations.

Things changed when I bought my first guitar in the fall of 1962 and started learning to play. That was during what I refer to as “the folk fad of the sixties,” and I ended up forming a trio with two other guys from church. That was fun, but they had girlfriends and I didn’t.

After graduating from high school in 1964, my parents and I moved to another state. No more trio. No more youth.

Life is so much nicer now. I’m happily married, healthy in spite of the number of medicines it takes to keep me that way, and very involved in church activities. Not to mention having become a published novelist who retired at sixty-two to write full-time.

Other older folks are free to talk about the good old days if they want to, but I’m happier with my life now than I ever was before.

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Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to the top right of this page where it says, “Follow Blog via Email.”

By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I use “As I Come Singing” to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list.

Because I’ve used up all of my songs, I revise and re-post a previous post each Wednesday. If you’re interested, please check that blog out here.

Best regards,
Roger