At age 80, my long-time partner/buddy/friend, Pete, wrote this. I love it and wanted to share it with readers. Pete and I wrote every single day (via email) from the early 90s to his death in 2008. Pete was quite content at this point of his life... I love how independant he was at age 80! I miss him! Wendy
By: Peter Weatherby, Colorado
The best years of my life have been the past 20 years, and I am 80 now. I don´t mean that to sound like a typical "golden years" senior as often depicted on TV, brimming with good health, hefting his great-grandchildren in the air as they squeal with delight, and enjoying a Caribbean cruise with his doting wife. The past 20 years have been anything but golden, but they have been better in many ways than the first 60.
My childhood was a troubled one, with a great deal of family strife. I was a thoroughly awkward teenager, since there was no such thing as a "teenager" in those days in England - you were a child until you became a man, and you suffered through those in-between years with varying degrees of embarrassment, humiliation, and efforts to please.
The twenties, when I was married, were a time of struggling to improve my job and income, and trying to become a good husband and father, neither of which I seemed to be particularly suited for.
By the time I was in my thirties, we had emigrated, first to Canada, then after four years in Toronto - where I managed to improve as a commercial artist and maintain a fairly decent standard of living for my (now) two children and wife - to California, lured by the vision of sun-drenched beaches, easy living, and streets paved with gold. Ha!
My forties were marked by mid-life crisis and the eventual break-up of our marriage after 25 years. In my fifties I had another shot at marriage, and made a fairly decent go of it before my second wife died of cancer (my first wife died of cancer too, after remarrying).
I retired when I was 60, fed up with the rat race. I didn´t miss commercial art at all; in fact, I still have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that I don't have to get up to go to work each morning. My children were both in Colorado by then, and I joined them in 1990. They too have had their problems, and I saw some flashbacks of my own life in theirs. But we all live within a short distance of each other now, and can share our joys and troubles.
I lead a quiet life, enjoying reading, music, and the small things in life - marveling at a beautiful sunset, looking forward to the evening meal, happy when I can sleep for eight hours with only one trip to the bathroom, and never failing to be amazed at American life with all its myriad creativity and its incredible absurdities.
My son says, "Look forward to the next 20 years, Dad." I´m not sure I want to be around as a centenarian.
But "whatever," as the bored teenagers say. It´s not for me to decide.
To be continued - but unrecorded, for now at least.