A recent headline in the newspaper caught my eye: "City High School's downtown block party celebrates youth."
Ah, youth. What wouldn't I sacrifice to once again celebrate my youth? I'd give away my dollhouse, my favorite outfit, my favorite painting. I'd do anything except go to the gym.
Do young folks realize what a gift a young, vibrant, energetic body is? Remember when you leaped out of bed each morning as if you'd been shot out of a cannon? Getting out of bed now could pass for a comedic routine. I sit on the edge of the bed for a few minutes to ensure I don't get dizzy and literally fall off. Then my old bones struggle toward the bathroom.
I look in the mirror and feel like a 17-year-old trapped in the body of a decrepit stranger. Staring at the lines on my face I understand why explorers searched for the Fountain of Youth. Sometimes I shout, "Get me out of this ancient body!" That startles Charlie and Toots, my dogs. Embarrassed for me, they look away.
Years ago I lived in Manhattan Beach, Calif., one of the world's playgrounds. My friend and I would bound out of bed, put on shorts and T-shirts and stretch a few times before jogging down to the beach to run for three or four miles with the rim of the Pacific Ocean as our guide.
Those days are long gone. Walking my dogs for half an hour feels like I climbed Mount Everest.
I loved to play golf. It meant nothing to tee off at 7 in the morning, play 18 holes, then go out dancing in the evening. These days by the time I get through the seventh hole I'm hoping the paramedics are within calling distance.
Making the leap from raving beauty to just raving is disparaging. Twenty years ago when my first novel, "Kiss My Tattoo," was published, I posed for a publicity shot sitting on a motorcycle. Now I'd probably have trouble swinging my leg over the seat to sit on the bike.
I loved wearing high-heeled shoes. Thinking of days gone by, I recently bought a pair of three-inch heels. I wore them for a couple of hours. The next day I was limping. The doctor said, "You've sprained your ankle." I couldn't believe it.
On the other hand, one advantage of living the geriatric life happens the first Wednesday of the month. I discovered this one day when Fry's was remarkably crowded with customers with white hair or no hair. Why were so many senior citizens buying groceries as if they anticipated being trapped in their homes for weeks? Was I unaware of a catastrophe approaching Tucson? A tsunami? A tornado?
With fear in my heart, I asked the produce guy what was going on. His eyebrows shot up as if he wondered what planet I'd been living on. With patience and demeanor reserved for the elderly, he explained, "Today is the first Wednesday of the month. Seniors get 10 percent off their groceries."
Ah, now I understood. So I grabbed huge supplies of things I really needed, like green olives and anchovies. Ten percent is 10 percent.
Another perk of being elderly is the senior discount at the movies. What could be more exciting? Being retired also allows me the privilege of belonging to a morning book club. We get together once a month to discuss the book we'd chosen to read. If I didn't get through the book because my attention span has waned with age, I get the gist of it from the discussion.
If any of you out there have an opinion as to whether you're enjoying the Golden Years or just enduring the Rusty Years, feel free to drop me a line.
Email Alexis Powers at firstname.lastname@example.org