|taken chez Felner by Robert Presutti ( seen here)|
“aging is an extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been” … David Bowie
When you spend 25 years of your life believing that you will not live past 51, some of these words provided me with a coping mechanism. Alas, here I am at 70 and I ask myself “how and when did this happen?” the answer is simply time passes and sometimes you’re too busy living life to notice that suddenly you’re old!
As I have written before, I have been blessed with an excessive, hypersexualized, event filled and relatively care free life that most would kill for and was lucky enough to be able to survive it and drink in some of the most memorable times living in the non-gentrified city of New York. From the gritty vile sticky floors of 42nd street porno palaces to rubbing elbows, and a lot more, with NYC’s social elite in the most likely and unlikely places.
My father always told me that you don’t know how you grew up till you’ve grown up and well I’m more than ripe now and I can say Jesus fucking Christ I had a blast... I just wish I was paying more attention. The worst part of this whole aging thing is that, for me, the golden years is a myth we grew up with embedded in our heads but now I know there is no such thing. No one ever told us there are consequences to aging such as ailments and conditions that you acquire along the way whether you “ask” for them or not.
I believe I have previously written that death entered my life starting at 26 and it just never ends especially because none of us make it out of here alive. It’s been mentally and physically taxing to have now lived through watching my peers die twice… once prematurely and now in my latter years because that’s the life cycle but as I am reminded and remind so many that death is a part of everyone’s life… like it or not.
No, I am not dying and have no plans to do so at any time soon but suddenly you do realize that your exit time is much nearer than further and that is a bit unsettling and disconcerting even for a wise ass like me. But… on the plus side I have discovered that one can still fall in love after 60 and one can still reinvent themselves and that no matter how old you are ... life is full of surprises… some of them even wonderful!
“my sense of death affects me daily---for the better. when you’re slightly afraid of death, you’re less afraid of other things: bosses, spouses, plumbers, rape, bankruptcy, not being liked, the flu, aging!” This has been on my refrigerator door since 1976
On friendship, I have surely learned that nothing is forever and the ranks thin considerably as we age but again, life being what is, you can still make bff’s and that some who you really believed were your bff’s were in fact not. It is somewhat disheartening especially for someone like me who hates to be wrong especially about those I considered to be friends but you have 2 choices …. You either say life is too short to fight about it or you fight for it ...I’ve done both and truth be told I walk away faster these days rather than fight.
I can never sing the praises of the internet loudly enough or even Facebook and NYJB as they have opened up doors for me that I would have otherwise never been able to even get to the threshold let alone open and enter. My rewards have been beyond my expectations and my knowledge has proven to be an asset that I never knew I possessed. Most of this has been my ability to reach so many and for so many to seek me out and even some to become cherished friends that unquestionably I’d have never crossed their paths without the net.
Last on my sort of list is that never laugh at the “the memory is the first to go” as by god the brain does slow down… the names aren’t remembered so quickly and even words are somehow not as quick to come by but we persevere. I am lucky that I still have the opportunity at this stage to now connect the dots for all these amazing people that I now know… maybe it’s a selfish act on my part but the one gnawing aspect of my aging is not death itself but being forgotten after one’s death and so I prefer to make my legacy to be what I have made possible for others and what I might be able to do to further them in their endeavors through the miraculously large web of people that I’ve amassed.
“aristocracy is a way of thinking and behaving, a cast of mind. It’s a style of dressing and speaking, a code of social signals that convince the aristocrat that he is superior, and other people that he should be given deference.” This has also been on the door of my fridge since the 70s.
No, I don’t think I have ever thought of myself as an aristocrat or above the fray but I’ve certainly skillfully crafted an image of myself and I’m not the least bit shy about saying it. It’s not being a snob, it’s simply that you can never assume to know anyone unless you actually do…. I am as I continually say “a well wrapped package!”
Hopefully I’ll have more to say in 5 years but in case I don’t... this ought to hold you for a while…
Special thanks go to Robert Presutti for being “my mirror” these past few years and for my birthday images
PS… in case you recognize yourself in these words then I can assure you … that it is YOU!