Thursday, May 31, 2018

Poem: Some thoughts on turning fifty

I turned fifty at the beginning of this year. This poem is really just a compilation of things I've been saying whenever I thought about hitting this milestone. It was originally put together as a poem on February 28, 2018 and was finalized and submitted for consideration for publication on March 1, 2018.

This poem first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of Word Fountain, the literary magazine of the Osterhout Free Library in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

When you hit the half-century mark, you have to consider
that maybe you're not exactly "young" anymore.
Perhaps you're not really an adult, but it’s possible you might be
something approaching middle age.

You tend to think of the past in terms of decades, not years.

You look at old films and TV shows and think about how young the actors were.
Carroll O'Connor was forty-seven when he began playing Archie Bunker on "All in the Family."
I told that to some of my friends at work and we all had a good laugh.
I told another friend and she looked at me and said
"I have no idea who either of those people are,"
and now I feel really old.

You begin to wonder if you'll be able to retire at sixty-five
or sixty-seven
or seventy
or if maybe the best plan will be to die in harness.

You think about the things you planned to do
and the things you have actually done
and try to decide which is the better list.
You wonder how much time you have left to accomplish a few more things.

When I was a kid, light bulbs would last
six months, maybe a year.
Compact fluorescent bulbs pushed that to five years.
Now I'm waiting for those to burn out so I can replace them with
warm white LED bulbs that could last up to twenty years.
Each time I put one in, I think
"That might be the last time I ever change this bulb."
What will I do if it burns out when I'm seventy?
Will I even remember how to change it?

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