I sat on the swing in the yard and watched new green leaves sway in a sensual dance as a spring breeze kissed the trees that have stood longer than I've been alive. They are old and new at the same time, much the same as I am. My mind wanders a lot these days, one random thought leading to another. The trees had me thinking about the dichotomy of age. It is a strange thing to think that others perceive me as old, yet I refer to “old people” as something quite separate from who I am. While technically I am a senior, it's rare to take advantage of it. I don't make special trips to shop at times dedicated to senior citizens and seldom use the discount. I treat the elderly with respect and kindness as I was always taught... And yet I know when my parents were my age, I thought they were old, I'm sure my children must see me that way. When I think about it logically and recall my mother still treating me like a child at forty, I can't help but imagine my daughters rolling their eyes in frustration when I resort to similar behaviors. I can still see my father's face as he bemoaned the fact that in his head he still felt like thirty even though his eighty year old body was telling another story. I think of this sometimes as I go up and down the stairs I've climbed for more than forty years, taking them a little slower, holding the railing, watching my footing, (it can be tricky with eyeglasses, especially as darkness falls). I fell down those stairs when I was a young woman and broke both of my wrists, and really don't want to do that again. I know I'm getting older, but surely I am not old; still I can't help thinking sometimes, that I am because the world has changed so dramatically since I was young. Sometimes I hardly recognize it. Then I remember some of the stories my parents and grandparents told me when I was a child, which seemed like history lessons even then, and think it would blow their minds to see what we've become. An old person wouldn't say “blow their minds,” would she? An old person wouldn't like rock and roll, or think about driving a red convertible with the top down and her hair blowing in the wind, right? No, I can't be old, unless you're pedantic and go by the numbers. My mind wanders a lot these days, but eventually it all comes around. The breeze is blowing in the trees and I sway with the newly green branches.
~Elise Skidmore ©2020