Asleep at the Wheel

Jim Parton
3 min readOct 10, 2023
Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash

“If you are pining for youth I think it produces a stereotypical old man because you only live in memory, you live in a place that doesn’t exist. Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.” — David Bowie

Being on the cusp of seventy years, and male, I sometimes feel my mortality around me. My writing on MEDIUM is an attempt to learn about myself. This is my space to REFLECT. My reading on MEDIUM teaches me about others. I write in an attempt to look back and see what my life has meant. It isn’t over. Yet. But there are certainly fewer days ahead than behind. I write to reflect on where I am in my life.

Looking in the mirror I am now beginning to see the neck folds in my skin that characterized my grandad. In the mirror, I see the wasting muscles in my thighs. I lost most of my hair long ago, not that it mattered. And a nap has become a part of my day. Isn’t it strange to feel like your twenty-year-old self and see your seventy-year-old self being reflected back at you when you pass a mirror? When did my beard get gray?

“Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

My husband and I just completed a marathon drive of about ten hours each direction to visit friends who live states away. I normally don’t think much about a trip such as that. I do the same type of time and mileage drive when I visit my sister who lives the same distance away from me. I have always handled that pretty well with the occasional gas and restroom stops and walking the dog. Now I will never do that stretch of driving in one sitting again.

I fell asleep at the wheel of our motor home. I didn’t know that I was that fatigued. I was in the middle of three lanes approaching an exit, and my husband suddenly exclaimed “What are you doing?” I had drifted into the left fast lane and was drifting toward the center barrier! I snapped back to attention, and I did manage to make the exit safely before we passed it. I can’t believe that this happened! I am always “alert” to how I feel and always stop when I’m tired. I am never one to take chances when driving and feel I am safe.

This had never happened to me before and was unthinkable!

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Jim Parton

Retired Teacher and Funeral Celebrant. The gay and married dad of three grown children. I have always been fascinated by the human condition. Come read with me.