I have a birthday this month. I’ll be twenty-something. Don’t ask me how old exactly, because I’ve forgotten. I’m getting old, guys.
I’m reaching the decrepit stage of life at which my memories fade like the flowers of the field. My senses dim. The sun and moon and stars go dark. My mind falters. My strength ebbs away. I can almost see the vultures circling over me. “Soon,” they tell each other. “Soon.”
All right, I may be exaggerating a little; twenty-something isn’t so old. After all, I work with old folks, so I should know.
I work in the memory care unit of a nursing home, assisting dementia patients and forgetful retirees. My own memory is abysmal, so I fit right in. Besides, I can tell the same jokes every day and the residents never tire of them. I know that I too shall be a forgetful old person someday. I’m already a forgetful young person, so I have a terrific head start.
I sometimes wonder what my life will be like when I’m an old man… assuming, of course, I don’t perish in the Mad Max-style wasteland America will become if Donald Trump wins the presidential election. (I’m joking.)
Getting old is rough, guys. The guy who wrote Ecclesiastes knew it. The mind and body, not just the memory, stop working as well as they should. Independence becomes difficult. Pain becomes all too common. The world, with its changing culture and evolving technology, seems ever farther and farther beyond comprehension. No one else seems to understand or remember the old things, the good things.
As the residents at the nursing home play bingo and watch reruns of Green Acres and The Lawrence Welk Show, I ask myself: How will members of my own generation spend their declining years? Will we sit around surfing the Internet? Will we watch reruns of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead on future-Netflix? Will we play games on antique systems like the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo 64? How old-fashioned and out of touch will we seem to young people sixty years from now?
Heck, for all I know, in sixty years senior citizens might be plugged into Matrix-style computers to spend their final years in the comforting embrace of virtual reality. My own job as a nursing assistant might be outsourced to robots like Baymax from Big Hero Six. (I would be okay with that, honestly.)
As another birthday comes and goes, and I inch ever closer to my inevitable demise, I can’t help but wonder what the future holds. If I reach the age of the folks at the nursing home, what will the world look like?
I’ll face the world one day at a time, I suppose. “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead. I had better keep piling up canned food and clean water in case Trump wins this year’s election. In the wasteland, fortune favors the well-prepared.*
*For the record, all of my jabs at Donald Trump are in good fun, and not to be taken seriously. Please don’t deport me.