One thing that scares the hell out of me is losing my memory. I will soon be 48, thus my memory has started to fade a bit, but I don’t think it is anything to worry about at this point. Nothing out of the ordinary, just the fact that I am approaching the five decade mark of being on this earth and sometimes things get a bit fuzzy. Like so many of us that get caught up in our day-to-day lives, I don’t often take the time to sit back, relax, and reflect on my past.
Since I will soon be returning to college after a nearly 20-year hiatus, I worry about how well I will retain things in the classroom. Will my mind be able to remember everything that will be thrown my way. Unlike most of my soon-to-be classmates, I didn’t grow up with cell phones, computers, or the internet, which I don’t think is a bad thing.
Out of Touch
I worry about today’s youth and the seemingly lack of personal interaction they have with each other. My boss actually told me a story about how her daughter told her that it was rude to call someone on the phone. She said texting was the way to communicate so the other person could respond at their convenience and not be bothered by a phone call. Wow. Is that what our society has become?
Growing up in a rural community, I can still remember having a party line. No, not the phone lines you see advertised late at night prompting you to call so you can talk to young, attractive people. A party line was a phone line shared with neighbors. Sometimes you would pick up the phone to make a call, but you would not be able to do so because your neighbor was using the line. You had to wait until they were done before you could make your call. Maybe that has something to do with why I refuse to wait in lines at restaurants.
In my younger days, I did things that would be frowned upon today. Not bad things, but not the way people do things now.
Hand of God (Or Mom or Dad)
How many of you remember riding in the front seat of the car with your Mom or Dad? Seatbelts weren’t mandatory back then, thus who used them? I don’t remember using them growing up. If you had to stop suddenly for any reason, the arm of your Mom or Dad pressed against your chest was your seat belt. Amazingly, I’m still here today.
My parents owned a station wagon when we were kids. You know, the kind with a rear facing seat way in the back. It wasn’t quite as bad as the family truckster that the Griswold’s owned, but it was close. We would sit in the outer reaches of the station wagon, giving truckers the universal signal to honk their horns. You know, making a fist and then raising your arm and pulling it down like ringing a bell. We enjoyed it, but it probably scared the hell out of our parents. Needless to say, how safe was that rear-facing seat way in the back? If that truck driver wasn’t paying attention, which part of the car was going to get crushed like a tin can first? You got it. Amazingly, I’m still here.
Living on the Edge
Growing up in a small, rural community, my Dad owned a pick up truck. I loved going fishing with my Dad and my Grandpa. Those were some of my best memories growing up. Well, oftentimes, my Dad and Grandpa would sit in the cab of the truck, which made space a little tight, thus I would ask if I could ride in the back of the pickup in the bed. It was always fun feeling the wind whip through the hair that I once had. Many times we would be daring and actually sit up on the side of the bed. One big bump or unexpected swerve and I likely would have been thrown from the truck to have been severely injured or killed. Amazingly, I’m still here.
No Helmet No Problem
Nothing makes me chuckle more these days than seeing adults wearing helmets when they ride a bike. You know damn well that we didn’t wear helmets growing up. I rode my bike a LOT in my younger days. I used to ride my bike to the local baseball fields, delivering newspapers, or just joy riding with a neighbor girl down the street that I had a crush on. I never wore a helmet. I nearly paid the price on one particular ride where I was feeling a bit daring. I stood up on my pedals and tried to go as fast as I could. Well, my foot slipped off one of the pedals and I tumbled over the handlebars. My head was fine, but my knee and hands were torn up pretty badly. With that said, I still don’t wear a helmet these days when I ride a bike.
Leave My Mind Alone
We all have these kind of memories. They are what shape us. I often hear people talk about the one thing that no one can take from you … your memories. Tell that to the people with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. Those are big concerns for me. When I get old and can’t move about as easily, I still want to be able to remember how good life was once. My body might be a shell of its former self, but I still want to think back to all the good times in my life with a smile on my face. I will always have the tattoos on my arms to remind me, but I want the memories.
Take the Good With the Bad
Not all memories are good, of course. I remember my Grandma paddling my ass all the way down the sidewalk after something I did wrong as a toddler. I remember my Mom dragging me back into a beauty salon to return some spare change I took as a young boy. I remember the morning I woke up and found our dog laying motionless near the end of our driveway after being hit by a car (still brings tears to my eyes). I remember giving the eulogy at my Grandfather’s wake. Probably the hardest thing I have ever done. I can still remember fighting a losing battle against the tears as my fishing buddy laid behind me in a casket. They say time heals all wounds. Not sure I believe that.
I still miss my Grandpa. I miss being a kid. I miss having fun without responsibilities. Being an adult sucks. Maybe I should text my Mom and Dad to tell them that I love them so they can respond at their convenience. You know, calling them would be just plain rude!