Golden years


The other day I was coming down the stairs in my office building, and a woman about my own age, who has worked for the University almost as long as I have, was coming down behind me. We didn’t converse; we just occupied ourselves with our thoughts.



We were both walking very methodically. When you’re our age, you don’t dash down the stairs. You take your time.



Finally, about halfway down, I said (without turning my head): “I never dreamed this would be how I’d spend my golden years.”



She laughed aloud. “It could be worse,” she said.

“Exactly what I was thinking,” I said.



Who knows, in his/her twenties, what he/she will be doing in thirty years? I was telling a story not long ago, and I began with: “When I came to Providence thirty-five years ago . . .”






Most of the people in my office weren’t born yet!


(This, if you can’t tell, is a blog about getting old. I write these from time to time. They are a pressure release, like the little steam-vent on a pressure cooker.  They keep my head from exploding.  So bear with me.)



I had a haircut recently. You remember my barber: he’s a sweetheart. We talked the whole time, mostly about real estate in downtown Providence. When I got out of the chair, I looked down and saw huge wads of gray hair on the floor. “Oh my god,” I said wanly. “Look how gray I am.”



“Don’t complain,” my barber said, who must hear this kind of comment all the time, and who is mostly bald. “At least you have hair.”



But – do you know what I mean? I’m inside this rapidly-aging body, here, now. I’m a husk, for heaven’s sake! I feel dry and evanescent, as if I’m becoming transparent.



And here’s the bitterest joke of all: my soul, or whatever it is inside me that’s looking out through these dull nearsighted rheumy eyes, is still young.






Try explaining that to someone who’s younger than you.




About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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