I’ve always been able to be kinda “outside myself” in my thinking.

What I mean is, I can BE me, and do stuff and say stuff, and also kinda OBSERVE the doing and saying.

Some of the stuff I do surprises me, and a LOT of the stuff I say does. We won’t even discuss some of the stuff I think.

Anyway I was pondering the other day, when exactly I first started seeing life as a series of shared experiences with folks of my generation.

It wasn’t high school, I know that, because in high school I hadn’t yet developed that sense of commonality with those in my age group.

I don’t think it was post-high school/college either except as a coalescing awareness that a lot of people my age were pairing off and getting hitched. This formed the nucleus for my first observed life stage. “The time of the Great Marrying.”

As you’d expect, the TOGM was followed very closely (and in some instances preceded by) “the Time of Great Childbearing.”

From the TOGC my cohort entered a transitional stage with poorly defined temporal boundaries and multiple identifiers. I call this “the era of poverty, migraine headaches, soiled diapers and full grocery carts.”

Not surprisingly, the EPMHSD&FGC was followed by “the time of great divorcing.”

The “GD” time seems to have segued into another transition with nebulous boundaries but painful identifiers. We will call this one “the time of arthritis, back pain, hearing loss, hair loss, inappropriate hair growth, gout, kidney stones, diabetes, prostate issues, ED, double chins, digestive issues, hot flashes, chronic insomnia, gray hair and grown children returning home (with or without grandchildren).”

If you haven’t already been through it, I don’t recommend that last one folks.

The last one, though is the biggie.

I call this one “the time of loss.”

We lose people we love all through life. Some elderly relatives and family friends pass when we are quite young. We lose a few of our co-hort and our family members to accidents and illnesses. We lose people we love in every stage. It never gets easier, but like so many things, we learn how to cope.

Learning to cope with loss is important because eventually we reach the “time of loss.” The time when our parents pass, when SO many of our friends and even our siblings, one by one, faster and faster, wink out like precious candles in the dark.

I think one way to deal with this is to lean on the friends and family who are still here.

Learn how they cope.

Just in the last six months my friends and I have seen way too many candles go out.

We are coping, we’re learning and we’re still here.

Born and raised in Franklin County, Rocky Gap resident Cecil Sink is a tinkerer, a talker, a squirrel hunter and occasionally a health inspector. His favorite personal quote is: “there is a tiny element of truth in almost everything I say.”

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