I w as always told to “grow old gracefully.” I never really understood that snippet of wisdom. I guess the first issue I had was simply the “growing old” part. What exactly is the definition of old? I am not quite certain. When I was 18 years old, 35 years old seemed like a lifetime away.
When I was young I had a neighborhood with many wonderful elderly folks. I enjoyed visiting with them. Although they always took time out for me, they seemed a little cranky. I know now why they were cranky — they didn’t wish to be old. Now, I am cranky.
I still get around great and I am viewed as old by some standards and middle-aged by others. I guess it depends on the age of the person critiquing me. There is a line someplace that seems to be blurred so you never are sure when you cross from middle-aged into old age. The guys at work consider me old since I have been employed there forever and a day. I am still uncertain where that time went.
I guess the biggest pill to swallow is the disagreement between my brain and my body. My brain thinks I am much younger than I am. When I look into a mirror it becomes more like a reality check, and I find some old guy staring back at me. At first I thought it to be some kind of demonic possession until I did the math on my birth year subtracted from the current date. I guess that is about what I should expect to see looking back at me.
While old man time continues creeping up on me like a bullet, I look at my wife and wonder how she holds up so well. There are days when I swear she must be growing younger. When I see my mother-in-law I soon understand that my wife inherited great genetics. My wife tells me, “60 is the new 40!” That must apply only to women. Somedays for me, “56 appears to be the new 80.”
I guess the secret to life is making it to the finish line while enjoying every minute of it along the way. I like to go and do things. I like to be a part of the world around me. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of surplus time. I like to live right, be honest, respect others and obey the laws of the land. I don’t want to live life constantly watching over my shoulder. I think life with daily neck fatigue would be unwarranted.
Life is a gift that slips past if you don’t pay attention. You need to learn to live. I think we all do. Don’t look back from your senior years with regrets. My advice is to do what you can, as soon as you can.
Upon reflection, I have a bit of sage advice to the question of aging. “How do I know when I am getting old?” I think if you open your medicine cabinet, the answer will reveal itself. Live well, my friends.