My grandmother died when she was 55 years old. I was only a child at the time, and Noni seemed very old – old enough to die. Now I know lots better. After all, I was 71 in May. 71 is still very young.

However, I am beginning to see signs of my aging. Not just the normal malfunctioning of body parts, aches, pains, and creaks, but a change in the way I look at life, the way I behave, and the things I consider important.

For instance……..

Have you noticed that all of the medical doctors are young enough to be your child? Add to that list nurses, dentists, lawyers, and policemen. There are more people alive on earth today who are YOUNGER than I am than people who are OLDER than I am.

I cannot name one song from a Top Ten list. When I drive my car, the radio is tuned to an Oldies station. Those are the only songs with which I can sing along. I can't understand most modern songs.

I pass by a mirror and think it's my grandmother staring at me.

Cotton underpants are the most comfortable.

Bedtime seems to get earlier and earlier. I used to sleep from 9-5, now it's more like 8-5.

We frequent restaurants that have "early bird specials." Our regular dinner hour is usually 5 p.m. because neither one of us like to go to bed on a full stomach. Smaller portions and cheaper prices sound good.

Many times, I will not finish reading a book or doing a crossword puzzle. I think to myself "Is this worth using my eyesight?"

We laugh out loud at classic TV re-runs. We can also usually repeat lines from shows we have seen a number of times. The new shows are hard to understand – seems as though everybody whispers.

I have stopped collecting things. After our move to South Carolina, I learned first-hand how "stuff" can accumulate. When we moved to Florida, we divested ourselves of even more. Becoming a minimalist is one of my resolutions for the rest of my life.

We often utter the words "When I was a kid…."

Our favorite vacation is a cruise. We don't have to do anything if we don't want to. On the last cruise, we each read 10 books. We did not schedule one land tour.

We did not attend any shows. We got off the ship at each port, but ate every meal on board.

Nothing surprises me any more.

We have set routines for our day.

Every car on the highway goes too fast.

Large gatherings of people make me nervous.

When I was younger, the condition of our nation's public schools used to cause me great concern. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of students and teachers. Now I live in the Deep South, where the condition of public education is nationally known. Am I upset by it? Not much. I guess it's someone else's turn to worry about that.

I throw things away. Instead of hanging on to a toaster that has one side that won't heat, I discard it. Chipped cups and glasses don't hang out in my cupboards.

Buying books is wasteful – both in money and in killing trees for paper. I use the library.

So, as you can see, age has crept up on me. But, I still believe that you are only as old as you act. I plan to behave in an adolescent manner for many years to come.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS THIS OR ANOTHER EDUCATION AND FAMILY TOPIC WITH DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM [1] OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.