Young Writers Project: 'Old'

Oct 22, 2017

I think a lot about fear
and about death,
and I've come to the conclusion
that I'm not afraid of death.
After all, death is nothing.
And there's no point being afraid of nothing,
since you can't exactly do anything about it,
can you?

No,
as much as I dislike the idea
of sliding away into oblivion
and never thinking again,
that's not the bit that frightens me.
What frightens me,
what really frightens me,
is growing old.
Not arthritis and needing hip replacements,
although that's sure to be unpleasant,
and not even just slowly losing my mind.
No,
what really frightens me about old age
is watching that hourglass
of my life
run out,
run slowly out
and knowing that I'm out of time.
Knowing that the end is so close.
I'm afraid of feeling that I've wasted my life,
the only life I've ever been given,
once I grow old.
I know myself well enough
to know I won't be one of those happy old ladies,
the gaga old ones who can't remember their names and don't recognize their relatives
but still live on,
happy in their insanity
or one of those old ladies
who goes on safari when she's eighty
because growing old
just doesn't exist for her until she's gone.
I think I’ll be the kind of old lady who sulks,
too proud to admit that the chances I missed were my fault,
and terrified that I had wasted
the only chance that I got.
Not that I pretend to know
what the point of life is,
except maybe to live a good one.
But what I'm afraid of
is when I'm old
and infirm
and maybe losing my mind
sitting in the quiet study,
cold because you're always cold when you're old,
looking out at the garden
and listening to the deafening roar of silence in my old ears
and thinking,
wait, there's something I'm ...
forgetting.