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How did this happen?

About a year ago I was 5 years old. I was sitting in the grass of our back yard on a hot summer day in the deep south, immersed in the efforts of an ant to carry some bit of food through what I thought must have seemed like a jungle to him. I was lost to the rest of the world, following this ant’s journey, all the time in the world to see if he made it home.

A few months ago I was a 12 year old boy living on an Air Force base in England. It was fun listening to the funny accents, eating the uniquely British candies, playing soccer with the village boys in the rain (and it was always raining,) but what I remember most was a 12 year old girl named Mickey. I really, really liked her. I saved up my allowance and went to a store on the base and bought what I thought was a beautiful silver cross necklace. I walked with her to a School dance, and gave her the necklace on the walk back home, and my heart jumped when I saw her wear it to school the next day.

A couple of months ago I was 17, a senior in high school, insecure even by high school standards, the class clown, and desperately in love. Not a crush, this was full blown love. I was too unsure and nervous to ask her out, even though she made it clear that she really liked me. My every thought every day was about her, and how to make her mine.

About a month ago, I was a senior in college, and my high School Love was engaged to someone else. I let her slip through my fingers. She still dominated my thoughts, day and night. I dated another girl for a few months, then one night on a walk past the little zoo in town she asked me to sit with her on the curb. She told me that her old boyfriend from her home town had approached her, and she was getting back with him. I drank a lot of cheap wine that night. I decided to go to Graduate School soon after that.

A few weeks ago, my old college roommate took me to a disco in the city where I’d decided to go to graduate school, and ambushed me when he went for drinks and brought back two girls. A blind date he’d set up a week earlier. The girl he brought for me was as surprised as I was, so we sat and talked, and when the song “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” came on I asked her to dance. Even a poor dancer like me could slow dance. We came back to the table, talked some more, and then I went back home with my friend.

A few minutes later, I was marrying that blind date, and saying prayers of thanks that my prayers to win my high school love had not been answered the way I hoped.

A couple of weeks ago,  we had a job, a mortgage, and three young children.

A week ago, I was with my middle daughter, welcoming the birth of my 4th grandchild, a girl.

How did I get so old?

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How did this happen?


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