I remember turning sixteen a lot of years ago, and I remember how proud I was at the time to have lived so long. I don’t remember why I wanted to be that age, but it seemed like a good thing back then. I thought being sixteen I was at last a man, never mind that I was just over four and a half feet tall with a face that would not see a real hair for several years. I thought by reaching that milestone I would receive all the knowledge the older boys seemed to have-especially the mystery of girls. I was disappointed that a little man did not come knocking on my door to present me with a book that held the secrets of life, that my age made me eligible to know. I was still waiting when I turned twenty-one, and to tell you the truth at my present age I am beginning to believe that little man isn’t coming. I still don’t understand the opposite sex.  When I talk to other men with a few years on them I find they are just as lost as I am when it comes to women, so I guess that little man passed them by too.

As someone well past that sixteenth year now I have experienced a lot of things both good and bad, and I have enjoyed the sunshine and weathered the storms of everyday life. I have had the age-old conversation with people who wish to go back to their youth, and do their life better, but I don’t share that wish. I do wish I could feel sixteen again and do all the things I could do back then, but having successfully navigated around all the pitfalls that could have kept me from reaching my present age once, I don’t wish to do so again. I listened to some people talking one day about being fifty years old, like it was a sign that they were close to the end of everything. I almost said something to them about being afraid of living after you reach a certain age is a sure way of not enjoying the rest of their lives. I wrote this poem instead with the hope that they will see it, and realize fifty isn’t old at all.

 

Age Lament

I heard a man lament his age

As he was turning fifty

So quickly to be at that stage

He said came much too swiftly

I myself do not fear fifty

It holds no dread for me

In fact it would be nifty

If only fifty I could be

A half a hundred does not seem bad

To reach that point you see

When lots more birthdays I have had

So fifty seems young to me

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