When you reach truly advanced age you are either “just fine” or you are dead.
No one wants a casual enquiry about one’s health to have a three page response, a litany of what doesn’t work, is slowing down, or causing sleepless nights.
Trying to be wise as well as old I have consciously opted for the “just fine” response to casual conversations.
When children wonder about my owly knees I allow that said joints are creaky, yes, but I am just fine, really. Bad backs are bothersome to be sure but Tylenol was invented for a reason. If they enquire about my general health it is certainly a “just fine” rejoinder. Especially considering the alternative.
So far all my maladies have been fixable, more or less. Fine, just fine, does not begin to express my gratitude.
Never have I wished for our children wealth or prestige. Too often one person’s treasure is a sibling’s trash. All of them, however, have achieved a degree of material sufficiency. And they are quick to affirm that life is fine, just fine.
We are not a tribe of Pollyannas. But we are duly mindful ever of the overriding bigger life picture. And exceedingly happy to have so far escaped dead.
There are still dragons in all our lives yet to be faced. There await incredible joys and numbing losses. The future is a gaping unknown.
But if we are not dead we have hope. We have the fortitude to slay the dragon before he roasts us with his fire. We will taste the joyful delights and help each other through the bogs of misery. Each day the future will show a clearer message.
We live, we strive, we cling tenaciously to the respite moment when we can affirm – we are fine, really, just fine.
And thanks for asking.