Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Monday, December 1, 2014

Belief, Reality, and Perspective: Weapons Against Father Time

My uncle celebrated his 90th birthday on Saturday.  Ninety years on this planet is a heck of a milestone.  We gathered at the local American Legion, in Medfield,  to celebrate, and to recognize Uncle Tony for his 90 years of giving to others.  Governor Patrick proclaimed the day in my uncles honor, as did his hometown, and the legislature passed a resolution marking his day as well. The recognition was so well deserved.  A lot of recognition for a quiet man that loves to smile, live life, and family.

Before all the official recognition had begun, it was the more intimate form of recognition that I was having issues with.  Relatives I have not seen in 35 years were there, and although we were all fairly close as kids, I barely recognized them now.  I did manage to connect the faces with the names from my past after a lot of uncomfortable staring.  Recognizing their children was impossible.

I scanned the hall, and attempted to identify the faces that hung under the graying, and gray hair.  I saw cousins wearing sweaters, and Dockers with their belts hiked up to their nipple line.  It seemed that it was just  few months ago that jeans, and a work shirt would have once been the ensemble of the day.  One thing didn't change, they still drank their Bud from the bottle.  Somethings are just instinctual.

The hair was more dyed, gray, and sparse;  the faces showed thirty five years of added character.  The changes, hardly noticeable when seen over the years on a more frequent basis, only announced that not only was Uncle Tony older, but the celebrants were that much older, too.

A damn lot older.

Cripes, we all had become that sixty year old we used to think was synonymous with  the end of life when we were twenty-five.

How the hell  did this happen?  Just a few months ago it was 1982, and I was singing along to Survivor's  "Eye of the Tiger", and now I was standing in the middle of an American Legion Hall with a bunch of old people that insisted they were my cousins.

The realization that one is not only getting older, but is old, doesn't just come with ones first invitation to join AARP at fifty, it comes all along the the way, too.  All those little bothers like getting out of the car a little slower, popping a couple of Aleve after spending the morning working in the yard,  changing glasses in order to read a text on the phone, and then changing them again when you want to go back to watching Jimmy Fallon, tell us that something is up.  If we accept things as just life, we'll do fine, but if we write off every wrinkle, ache, set of lost car keys, forgotten items at the store, missing hairs, teeth, as being old, then we will be old.

The mind is a neat thing, if you tell it something that you believe in, it responds in kind.  Acting ones age is not always the best advice, being how one feels is far better.

I'm not old.  I am aging, though.    I'm younger than Uncle Tony, but I'm not young, either.  This is my reality, and it is essential in moving forward without getting all hung up on what I used to do better than I do now.  I listen to Top 40, and always have.  I work with people less than half my age, and enjoy it a lot.  I still wear jeans.

What's in my mind is so much younger than what's in my mirror.

Staying young has little to do with the date on the calendar, but everything to do with what is on your mind.  If you choose to live old, chances are you will be, but if you choose to age, like wine, then you will most definitely become better than you are now.

I want to live to be 90 like my Uncle Tony, and I am working on being fifty when I get there.


  1. I'm pushing 64, Wally. I can't deny that I'm "aging". But I'm far from "old". When I look in the mirror, and I don't see 64 starting back at me. I see a guy with a white beard and graying, light brown hair. To me, he doesn't look 64....... What's 64 supposed to feel like? Yep, I got some aches, but I hit the floor running every morning at 5:05 and by 6:30 all cylinders are hot and firing.

    I tend to use my late dad as a standard to which I compare myself. When my dad was 64, he was slowing down. New knee, new hip, prostate cancer, throat cancer, and miscellaneous health problems. He still got around, but father time had his arms around him and was slowly pulling him down. He hasn't caught up with me yet. I still frequently skate, I walk every day, and I'm often seen hanging off my amateur radio tower working on my antennas. My dad wasn't doing this at my age, so I suspect that I'm doing something right.

    Yeah...I'm aging.....but I'm far,,,way far from "old".

    1. Tom, you are right, you aren't getting old. Yes, aging is undeniable, but getting old is about what is dealt you, and how you choose to play the hand. Sometimes, we are up against a better player like your dad was, but thankfully, for most, it is a matter of choice on how we move on. Glad to know there is another out there that is aging well, and not thinking twice about it.


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