When I am 100, I will play with my dog

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Walking the halls of a local elementary school this morning, I paused to take in the bulletin board outside a third grade classroom. The kids have recently celebrated the 100th day of school and, as part of the commemoration, spent time imagining what their lives might be like when they reach their 100th year.

Each mini-essay stapled to the board was accompanied by an age-accelerated photo of the writer. Some of those photos looked eerily like little old men and little old women were gazing back from the future, ready to impart the wisdom of a lifetime to their younger selves.

One student wrote: “When I am 100, I will live in a nursing home with my friends.”

Another: “When I am 100, I will walk with a cane and play checkers.”

“I will wear odd clothes all the time. Also I will be dead.”  (ah, pragmatic!) 

“I will play on my iPod all day long.” (read: I will do whatever the heck I want to do, thank-you-very-much.)

“I will look like a zombie and scare all the children.” (hmm …)

“When I am 100 I will think about my Mom and Dad. I will play with my dog.”

This last one got to me, I admit. Because this child writer is the sort of child writer I was, and maybe still am. She owns an early awareness that the longer she lives, the more loved ones she will outlive. That’s not an easy thought to tote around elementary school.

She knows she cannot change this fact, so she will honor her loved ones by remembering them. But then she adds this intriguing line about playing with her dog. Maybe she’s imagining adopting a dog in her nineties, but more likely she is imagining herself, in her advanced age, romping with the dog she lives with right now.

Because dogs never age. Dogs are eternal.

Pippin (our family dog, seen above) is starting to show some gray hair. I, as a human, have not yet started to gray, so my dog’s gray hair sometimes makes me supremely uncomfortable.

Perhaps the best kept secret about making your way in life as a writer or artist is that you get to spend an extravagant amount of time with your dog. And I, having long passed third grade, already know that everyone ages. Everyone. All of creation. Even dogs.

Imagine for a moment a grown woman standing in a hallway on a Monday morning trying to press back her tears and not doing a very good job of it.

Why?

Because she loves her dog.

Yeah. That’s pretty much how my day started. Don’t worry. I’m good with it.

The same writer, near the end of her reflection on aging wrote this: “I will tell everyone that I love them.”

This is too good not to share—a prescription for right living, in the present and deep into the cave of old age, all from the pen of a nine-year-old.

You’re welcome.

When I am 100, I will play with my dog. I will sit with my daughter and laugh until I must cease laughing in order to concentrate on catching a breath. I will stretch. I will read. Write. Listen to music. Sing. Dream. Cry. I will tell everyone I love them.

I will do all these when I am 100. I did all these impossible things today, and all before breakfast.

And you? What will you do when you are 100? What will you do today? 

 

 

Comments

  1. Sarah Byers says:

    When I am 100 I will be totally gray as I’m starting now. I will sit and admire my children. I will play with my grandchildren. I will dance in the rain and sing out loud. I will sit in peace and love my quiet. I will smile at the beautiful family I have and know “I was part of that”

  2. Missy Noble says:

    I love this, Lori, you are such a great writer. Have you written any fiction? I remember the children’s book you sent for Sean, about the seahorse, well, the book had all kinds of little stories. It was awesome. What will I be doing when I’m 100? I always said I would live to be at least 100 so I picture myself living somewhere simple and warm. Hopefully loved ones very nearby and they will visit me. My friends will be around, too because we will wreak havoc in restaurants being annoying old people who know we can get away with anything because we’re old.

    • Thanks, Missy. I write tons of fiction and poetry and hope to publish more and more of it! Children’s fiction is my absolute favorite. Maybe Sean needs an annual birthday or Christmas story?
      Cheers to being 100 together!

  3. Cathy Newcomb says:

    Beautiful. Made me cry too as I cherish my aging dog this snowy day. When I am 100 I will gather with my friends and chat for long periods of time. I will also wander with my camera taking new pictures after I have already spent hours reminiscing over old photographs.

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