ONCE IN A LIFETIME – Marilyn Armstrong

I don’t envy much. I’ve never needed the biggest house or the fastest car. Fashion doesn’t tempt me and success for me has always meant having enough. Spare would be nice, but enough will do. I don’t need popularity. A few good friends and some companionable other acquaintances are just fine.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

But you, over there? Yes, you. Young person, with your flexible body and the spring in your step. I bet you can sleep a whole night without having to take “something for the pain.” I bet you still have all your original parts too. No silicone implants or valves from other creatures. That must be really great. A spine that isn’t encrusted by calcification. A digestive system that will handle whatever you throw into it … and at your age, probably that’s all sorts of weird stuff. I hope you get over that. Stomachs are important. They don’t stay tolerant forever.

And feet! Oh, how glorious! You can run, jump, walk. Your eyes are clear and bright and you can focus your camera without special glasses. How delightful. I remember when I could do that.

It’s not envy. That would imply you’ve got something I want to take from you. It’s just that you are young and healthy. Your beauty is in your vitality and the joy I see you take in the simple acts of daily life. It’s not envy. It’s more wanting to turn back my own clock. Oh, what I’d give for a single day of being completely healthy and pain-free.

On the horse

I hope you treasure what you have. I didn’t realize how much it would change and how quickly it would happen. I never expected to be what I am now. In my imagined future, I was just as you are now, but with a little gray in my hair. Otherwise, I’d be perhaps a bit slower. I want a day as I was so I can treasure it and remember how it feels to walk with a spring in my step, eat an ice-cream, run across the grass, ride a horse.

Treasure what you have, youngsters. It’s worth more than gold. If it goes away, no earthly treasure can buy it back. Take care of yourself. Hoard your riches. You’ll need them on the road ahead.

Categories: Health, Marilyn Armstrong, Personal, reflection

Tags: , , , ,

14 replies

  1. That’s just it Marilyn, we seldom cherish what we have when we have it. We take it for granted. We are the ones who can look on the youth and relish the joy of movement and ability. At least we had it at one time.


    • Youth isn’t wasted on the young, but we don’t appreciate how much we have just by BEING young. We aren’t in the moment. That’s probably normal, but it’s a pity that we are so busy looking forward, we forget to be present.

      Liked by 2 people

      • We were a “beautiful couple” in the public arena — for a few precious year. We’ll always have that. Remember The Shriners’ rodeo – last pic in your piece. We were Roy & Dale — riding before a full house of appreciative folks. That was definitely a “star couple” moment for us and it got lots of attention.

        As for youth aka yoot and carefree physical stuff: I took it all for granted. They didn’t have to ‘double dare’ me on some of my TV shoots that might’ve raised questions about the toys in my attic. No boundaries — I would TRY it and my body usually bounced back like one of those pink spaulding rubber balls of our yoot. One thing I do recall: Shadowing police on a shoot out. REAL bullets, Pilgrims. I wuz so focused on being close to the perp take down, I wuz oblivious to the bullets flying past me. Maybe I didn’t hear them. Yes, it made for GREAT television. The Newsroom suits loved my bravado. My colleagues just stared at me for setting too high a bar for them in risky situations. Close friends worried about the missing toys in my attic.


  2. I kind of feel I have been an older person most of my life. One of my first full time jobs was carer in aged care in an absolutely brilliant facility. I discovered many things that actually took away many of the fears I may have had of growing older. Sadly pain and less mobility were ones I was and am very aware of.
    I am one of the weirdest people about in that I never want to go back to being younger. Of course that is open for change. I just hope I will be mobile and independent and living on my own in my own place.


    • I know I can’t go back. The past just is. But I wish what’s left of my spine would hurt a lot less. That my heart worked better though it works about as well as it could — and in another time, I’d be dead. I’ve survived a lot. I hope I’ve survived enough and it’s easier from here and I hope the young and healthy are smart enough to hold on to it and not throw it away on booze & drugs. I’m alive and housed and not alone. That’s pretty good and I know plenty who are worse off.


      • oh I am sorry Marilyn I did not mean to imply that I was in my head writing about me. I kind of was in my own thoughts. forgetting it was your post. Totally agree about the young with drinking and drugs. Not something I have really ever done.


  3. True words – I can only underline all of it. Since yesterday, my mum in law is in hospital, my youngest sister too, for the second time in 6 weeks, both times 2+ weeks….


  4. All I can say is you and me both. People that shop with no problem, pushing the trolley quickly around and do not have to worry that each uncertain step could result in a fall. Oh they were the days.


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