Jewish World Review Dec. 16, 2004 / 4 Teves 5765

Felice Cohen

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One day | "Everybody's rushing," said a woman in her eighties, who I blew past during an early morning power walk. "Of course we're rushing," I thought, "This is New York City."

It seemed inconceivable to me that one day I might not be rushing. I then realized one day I'm going to be like Nana, my 86-year-old grandmother, who says, "Life goes by fast when you're young, and crawls when you're old." Suddenly, a number of other scary truths dawned on me.

Like one day I won't be able to run for a bus and catch it. One day I won't get by with just a smile. And one day, bruises won't heal and my hair will turn white and maybe even fall out.

One day my mind will forget things, like my address or where I put my keys. One day my bones will ache for no good reason, like a basketball injury, and that brushing my teeth will require removing them first.

One day I will get a chill in 80-degree weather, even with a sweater on. One day I will drink prune juice out of necessity.

One day I will carry tissues up my sleeve and wear elastic-waist pants and even forget what I was thinking just as I was about to say it.

One day I will be forgotten by my descendants. (Do you remember you're great-grandmother?) And one day my big choice of plans for the evening will be between watching "Wheel of Fortune" and playing Bingo.

One day my muscular arms will jiggle and the hair on my legs will stop growing. And one day someone may even have to change my diapers.

One day I will take more prescription pills than vitamins and will have trouble chewing, hearing and seeing, and most of my friends will be dead. And one day I will realize my end is closer than my beginning.

On the other hand, one day I will get into movies for half price and will learn to knit. I will be the oldest living member in my family and people will instinctively offer me their seats on the subway. And one day I will finally be comfortable in my own skin, even if it is wrinkled.

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So what this teaches me is that I must not waste the time I've been given. Instead I must recognize the importance of giving back every day, and not just around the holidays. I will make sure my friends know the sound of my laughter and that my family knows how much I love them.

I will run until I wear out the soles of my sneakers, pedal until I wear out the treads of my bicycle tires and write until the ink in my pens run dry.

I will linger longer with the sun on my face, savor every bite of my favorite chocolate and embrace the tears of both joy and sadness.

For what really seems inconceivable to me, is that one day I will remember the day I wrote this and think, "Where has the time gone?"

Comment on JWR contributor Felice Cohen's column by clicking here.


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© 2004, Felice Cohen