When the hell did everybody get so old?
Okay, obviously not everybody is old. But it seems that all my friends are, the people I went to school with, and even most of my peers at work. And they look old. The men are either gray haired or bald, bodies have gotten soft and saggy, and there are wrinkles everywhere. What the hell?
I’m glad I don’t look that old.
Yet, I’ve had so much experience. I’ve finished school…gotten married… started a successful business… gotten married…had children…changed careers… gotten married…had my mid-life crisis… reached the pinnacle of my career…
Uh, and gotten married.
I should probably mention that there are four divorces in there as well.
The world has completely changed in my lifetime. The town I grew up in has over 120,000 people in it now; yet when I started school, it had a stoplight. Yes, one stoplight. Now there are probably more stoplights in the town then there were people. There were no microwaves, cable TV or Cell phones. The news came on twice a day, (Once on the weekends) and only lasted for 30 minutes. That’s all the news there was to report, unless there was a need for special broadcasts, such as a moon landing or when President Kennedy was killed.
Yes, the assignation of Kennedy. I remember that. Damn.
Oh, and at 10:00pm all the television stations (all three of them) signed off the air, and didn’t come back on until 6:00am the next morning. Do you know where your children are? (You old fogies will know what I’m talking about…)
You would think I was old as dirt. Yet, the man I see in the mirror in no way compares to my peers. Sure, I have some gray hair (Okay, it’s white), but it’s premature and looks more distinguished than old. If there are wrinkles there, I don’t see them. And except for the stomach bulging, I’m still in great shape. And I can explain the stomach! It’s a medical condition. Really.
And most importantly, I feel young.
It’s funny, but when my parents were my age, they WERE old. I don’t think it was the perception of a kid either. They dressed old. I was a teenager before I saw my father wear anything other than a white shirt and tie to work. The current style then was ‘far out’, and his concession was to wear a pastel colored shirt – with a tie of course. Mom’s attire would be considered fuddy duddy by today’s standards. The way women my age dress today would be considered scandalous! And they lived old. There was no sense of adventure, or anything that could be considered fun (Like zip lining or wind surfing), and never acted silly. Not like I do anyway.
But today we live our lives like they would have in their 30’s. I like it. See? I’m not old.
The night my Dad died, he told me that he still thought and felt like he was 17. He still had dreams, hopes, and things he wanted to do. He knew he was dying, but even then couldn’t accept the fact that he was an old man.
Uh oh. I feel like I’m still 17. That’s a little scary.
As I was growing up I couldn’t imagine myself as an older man. When I was in my 20’s, I couldn’t even fathom being 40 years old. I was going to be in my 40’s before it was the year 2000…and that was mind blowing. And being over 50 was inconceivable. Of course, with my illness I never expected to live that long, so there wasn’t much reason to even try to imagine. I figured I’d be long dead before I hit 40.
And yet, here I am.
I know I’m not done by a long shot, but I have already reached most of the expected milestones. The only major ones I have left are Grandchildren, retirement and death. (Not necessarily in that order. I have daughters, and they have to learn about sex before there can be any grandchildren. And they are in no way old enough to know about that! ) (Forget the fact that my oldest is already married…). And I have to admit, there are some advantages to being as old as I am. There’s definitely a wisdom that comes with age. Things that used to bother the crap out of me just roll off my back. I’ve learned that things like that really aren’t worth the effort. I feel very comfortable in my job. This is a piece of cake compared to what I used to do. And it’s fun to be able to mock all those 40 year old kids I work with. They are just so cute thinking they know about life and all! Let me tell you, back in the day… Now I have time for me. If I get a wild hair and decide to take a weekend trip to the shore, I just up and go. And I even get a senior citizens discount at the hotel!
It’s quite a dichotomy.
My years don’t match my actions. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m silly. I love to play, and not just old person games like golf or bridge. I’m more likely to hop on a table (at home of course) and do a little dance for my lady. Nothing raunchy, just a little fun; I love the way it makes her laugh. I really enjoy it when she’s on the phone with one of her siblings. Ain’t I a stinker? I can dance the more formal dances you would expect from an old person, but you’ll find my happy ass out on the floor shaking and grooving to the latest pop too. In fact, I think I prefer that kind of dancing. I’m not one of those little old men poking down the highway either. Lead, follow or get out of my way! I’m not driving aggressive, but I’m certainly not holding up anyone else.
I guess I’ve done a very poor job of preparing for the next phase though. I can blame a lot of my lack of a nest egg on all my divorces of course. But if I’m honest with myself, the reality is I really haven’t even tried. I know, that’s very irresponsible and stupid. But I’m having so much fun! I know that one day I’ll be too old to work. But (assuming my health holds) that won’t be until I’m at least 70 years old. Me? 70? I can’t even imagine. I’ll probably be dead before then anyway. I’m way too young to worry about that now. All those old farts I went to school with can sit on the front porch in their rocking chairs and complain about the weather.
I’m going dancing!