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The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
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 by Ron Cruger
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It will happen to you...
  It happens quickly. All of a sudden you’re the oldest person at the party. When it hits home that everyone in your purview is younger than you, something in your psyche is altered. You remember the days when you looked upon the older ones and what your thoughts were then – way back then.
          When you were eighteen years old teachers, parents, coaches and your parent’s friends in their thirties were “old.”
          Same as when you’re in your prime, 20, 30 even 40 years old. Those people in their 50s, 60s and 70s are just “old.” Real “old.” You think those “old people” shouldn’t be allowed to drive. You see them as shadows of what they once were. They push their shopping carts too slow. They take too long to decide what they’re going to eat in restaurants. They take up most of the space in hospitals and in doctor’s offices. Their hearing fades as does their eyesight. Their bodies change, and not for the better. Their memory starts playing tricks on them. And the wrinkles, oh, god, the wrinkles.
          So, you stand there, at the party, by the slices of cheese, small bowls of green olives, potato chips and onion dip. You look around to confirm that you are, indeed, the oldest partygoer. It’s true. You don’t feel like the oldest person, in fact you feel just like you did when you were their age. You feel fine.
          You know something that the younger ones don’t know. You know because you’re there – you’re old. What you know is that they, the younger ones, will be old one day. They can’t see it happening to them. For some reason, the younger ones believe, as I once did, that “I’ll always be 30 years old. No wrinkles, no fading memory, no hearing loss. I’ll always be strong, mentally sharp, youthfully attractive and my waist will always be measured at 34 inches.”
          As you gaze around the room, at the younger faces, the realization comes to you that their lives will someday change, as yours has. Not just their waist sizes, or the wrinkles or the memory. Much of the things that fill their every day lives today will change.
          You remember how the advent of television changed your life. How computers altered the way you live. How medical care changed over your lifetime. How cell phones brought a new dimension to every day living. How the deaths of parents and grandparents brought sadness unknown to your days. How automobiles ran until you disposed of them. How kids lost their innocence at an early age. How both parents work. How clothing styles changed. How gangs rule so many neighborhoods. How every psychotic with a neglected childhood owns a gun. How so many friends are gone.
          Take another look around the room, at the younger faces and there’s one thing of which you’re positive – their lives will change too. Just as yours has.
          One day they will be at a party and notice that they’re the oldest ones there.
          They may not think it will happen – but it will. Just give them a few years. And those years go by quickly. You know that