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Perspective: Squirrels, Jeopardy, and growing older

Karl Ibri

Now that I’m in that age range I used to think was old, I hear the echo of my dad’s words as he creaked and groaned getting up from his chair, “You just wait til you get old.” It’s not that I thought I’d never get old, I figured one day I’d look old but couldn’t imagine the feeling of old. Lately, I’m starting to get the picture.

Whereas my dad was born in 1918 and had to grow up fast, I grew up in an era of relative stability and optimism and during the dawn of a youth culture. I think many of my contemporaries share the experience of being young until suddenly, we weren’t anymore.

I feel like the same person at my core as I did when I was 5 or 18 or 50. My personal narrative has certainly taken a meandering course, but somehow still seems coherent. But then again, I used to roll my eyes when adults talked about birdwatching or playing Scrabble. Now I love watching Jeopardy and naming the squirrels on my bird feeder.

If we’re lucky, we can find joy and peace in what may be perceived as mundane - like the main character in a book I’m reading, A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman. The old woman Marvellous is an inspiration, and I’m as young as I’ll ever be again!

I’m Paula Garrett and that’s my perspective.

Paula’s reading list that may relate to growing older…

Sarah Winman, A Year of Marvellous Ways
Audio version read by the author

Sarah Winman
Still Life

Olga Tokarczuk
Drive your Plow over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel

Niall Williams
This Is Happiness
Audio version read by Dermot Crowley

Ruth Ozeki
A Tale for the Time Being
Audio version read by the author

Ray Bradbury
Dandelion Wine

Tove Jansson
Fair Play

Sally Beauman
The Visitors: A Novel

Catherine Ryan Hyde
Allie and Bea: A Novel

Sallie Tisdale
Advice for Future Corpses (and Those Who Love Them): A Practical Perspective

Paula Garrett is a transplanted Southerner and a former WNIJ Blues host. She's passionate about music, travel, research, open water swimming and film.