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The Wonder Years

Dear Editor,

Aging is a process no one can deny. It begins the moment we are born and continues until the day we die. Though some try to prolong life, aging will even­tually take its toll. There are no exceptions.

Looking back on my own aging process — I'm now 65 — I can't help but wonder how I made it this far! Let's not kid anybody — I was lucky. I can remember my adolescent days. I never wanted to grow up. The fact was that during that period of my life I viewed most adults as ancient. What kid truly wanted to grow up? These were the wonder years, times of fun and games, great expectations, resilience. Oh, the memories.

As my teenage years wound down I entered into my 20s and already had the feeling I was over the hill and had missed my adolescent days with a heavy heart. Although the transition between puberty and matur­ity can often be a challenge, I like many others made it without much difficulty.

When I entered my 30s I seriously began to think about aging. No longer was I thinking of fun and games. Then it really finally struck home. The wonder years were gone. It was time to make my contribution to society. How did I become this old so fast? Some say age is only a number and that we're only as old as we feel. Good point. Example: a famous comedian who went by the name of Jack Benny, when asked his age, stated, “I'm 39 and holding.” That could work!

Into my 40s the years began to show. The waist­line somehow increased. The vim and vigor I once held in my younger days seemed to have vanished. Old age was knocking at my door. I began to understand this process called aging. It's sort of sneaks up on a person.

Enter the 50s. The face in the mirror had taken on a different look. My hair was turning gray and was going away. My face looked tired or so it appeared to me. I couldn't help but wonder where had my youth gone? Was this truly me? It was!

Now in my 60s I look at life quite differently. I now understand this process of aging and just how fast it can sneak up on you. I'm amazed at how I seem to misplace things and spend countless time trying to locate the misplaced items. I'm also constantly asking people to repeat what they said. There are also the achy joints. Old age was beyond knocking.

You might ask how I feel about all this. Ha-ha. By just simply blow out the candles on the cake — with a big sigh. Just the other day I overheard an elderly man talking to another. One said that 60 was the youth of old age. If that's the case then I'm just a child in this aging business.

I believe that aging can be a joyous adventure and we should apply ourselves to the journey. Although aging will eventually take its toll, there's no reason we can't enjoy the ride.

Pasquale Nigro

Soledad State Prison

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