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  • Writer's picturePaul Cotter

Rusted Train Thoughts

Abstract closeup of abandoned rusted train car

My mother-in-law, who turns 90 in August, understands the paradox of aging. She suffers from a long list of ailments and chronic pains, and she uses a walker to help her get around — but deep down, she once told me, “I still feel 19.”


I know how she feels. At age 66, my body can't do the things it did so easily when I was in my physical prime. When I was young I played varsity sports, lifted weights with a passion, played tennis for fun in sweltering summer heat and had more energy than I knew what to do with.


That was then. Now that I’m older, my body feels less like a sports car and a little more like the rusted freight train car I photographed above. But somehow, incongruously, I still feel 19 inside. In my mind, I'm a young guy trapped in the body of a gray-haired stranger who’s enrolled in Medicare. I wonder if the abandoned freight car feels the same way.


Does the rusted old relic still see itself as a gleaming new car breezing along the tracks, wheels churning, wind whistling past, watching houses and trees fly by in an exhilarating blur?


Unfortunately, a freight car’s thoughts are a well-guarded secret so we’ll never know for sure.  But I have a hunch the old car doesn’t feel nearly as old as it is. 😊

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