Letter to Myself as an Old Man

13 Feb

A long time ago, I wrote a letter to my childhood self. Now, I’d like to write a letter to my old man self. Here it is.

Old man self. How are you? How is your health? How are your bi’s and tri’s and do your jeans still hug your quads when you go up stairs in a way that makes you feel like a big man who could kick a tree over if he wanted? I hope so. I hope you’re still healthy, at least.

I hope there’s nothing seriously wrong with you health-wise. Sometimes, I lay up at night, worrying that somewhere in me, dormant, lie the seeds of my end. Whatever’s going to kill me is most likely in my blood right now as I write this letter. It was in me when I was born, and it was in the various cells that were put together by robots that helped me become a screaming pink loaf nine months later. I don’t want to get too much into that, though. The rabbit hole and such.

Do you still have friends? I’m sure you do. I hope you do. How many of them are left? I’ve always assumed I would be the last of all my friends to die–it just seemed right, I guess. I take good care of myself; I exercise and eat right, but I stress a lot and I’ve been known to drink a bit of whiskey, so who knows. Maybe I’ll be the first to go. Maybe I’ll die from something completely unexpected, like a car crash or maybe someone will kill me. Maybe I’ll be jogging and a dog will get loose and rip my throat out. It happens, you know.

I hope you have lots of friends still. But I also sort of wish you don’t, because I’d hate to die before them and not get to squeeze every last drop out with them before I go. I’d hate to leave the table before the meal’s done.

Are you happy? Did you–did we–do a good job? Did we try hard and keep going when we failed and did it all pay out? Am I going to have to find out, years down the line, that the only real pleasure in life is striving for pleasure in life? I hope not. That sounds awful.

I bet you’re happy. I bet you are. I bet you’re happy because you want to be so damn badly that I don’t think you would let anything stand in your way. I hope you’re happy.

Do you have any kids? I think I’d like to have kids. I’ve never seen myself being old without kids. Were they good to you? Did they put you in a home when you got too old? Did they let you stay with them? Is the unconditional love of a parent to a child real? Did any of them test that love? Were you a good parent?

If you do have kids, do you have grandkids? And if you do, do they call you ever? Do they write? I try to do those things, but I don’t do a very good job. It’s strange to think that one day none of my grandparents will be left. By the time I’m your age, they’ll be distant memories. I may not even remember their voices. Their faces will be preserved because I’ll have pictures and all that, but what about their voices? I don’t have video of them. I wonder what my voice will sound like when I’m old.

I think about that stuff. Do you have a gravelly voice? Is it high pitched? Is it softer now?

Did you find love, and did you keep it? Did you find a way to make it last? Did you keep the lesser, more fearful parts of yourself away from it enough that you didn’t squander it? I hope you did.

How many times did you find love? I’d like to think it was just the once, but knowing myself, it might not be. I just hope you were damn sincere the whole time. I hope you thought it through. I hope you didn’t think too much, though.

I hope that when you lay in bed at night, whether alone or beside the woman you love, that I gave you the kind of memories that make you yearn for their repetition. I hope I gave you the kind of memories I would like to have as an old man.

Take care of yourself,


2 Responses to “Letter to Myself as an Old Man”

  1. Alba February 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    Very nice. Dave Eggers-esque, I’m sure you’ve heard that before

    • Kyle Irion February 19, 2012 at 10:33 am #

      I’ve never heard Eggers, actually, but I know that he doesn’t suck, so thank you. I have two of his novels sitting on my shelf that have been in the queue for a while. I need to get around to that guy.

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