Growing old sucks. Let’s just get that right out in the open up front. I suppose for some people (Jack LaLanne or Bill Gates, for instance) it’s not that bad. Jack had great health up to the day he died, and Bill, well, we all know what Bill has. So, given my advanced age, I’m just gonna ramble on for awhile…
I’ve made note of several facets of growing old that I don’t particularly care for. Here’s a much condensed list:
- Aches and pains
- Eyesight going bad
- Hearing going bad
- Other “things” going bad (let’s just leave it at that, shall we?)
- Memory failing
- Losing hair where I want it
- Growing hair where I don’t want it
- Lack of desire to do anything other than sit around (my garage is getting messier at this very moment)
- Aches and pains (I know I mentioned that already, but it bears repeating)
- Declining tolerance for kids, other people’s stupidity, extremism, and any number of other things that exist in this world
- Memory failing (Did I already mention that? Hmm, I forget.)
- Watching friends and family “pass on”, as they say
I could do without ANY of the above conditions. But alas, it is not to be. As I passed my 52nd birthday a few weeks ago (or was it 53rd – there’s that memory thing again), I discover that I’ve succumbed to ALL of the above. Not all at once, mind you, but little by little. They all sneak up on you, just a bit at a time, until BAM. You realize you’re not GETTING old, you ARE old.
Now some people would say that 53 (yeah, that sounds right) isn’t really old (after all, my mother is still golfing, and she’s a few years older than me – I forget how many). Of course, those are the 20-40 year olds who have YEARS ahead of them before they reach this point, or at least that’s how they think. Heck, it’s how I thought when I was 20. When I was a kid, I figured out how old I would be when the “21ST CENTURY” rolled around, along with all the technological and medical marvels it would entail. I discovered I would be 41. Not too bad, especially since we’d be living on the moon by that time and everyone would be living to well over 100, if not immortal. Wait, what? We aren’t? Neither one? Well, crap.
A couple of my earliest memories are the original Moon Landing, and JFK’s assasination. For many people reading this, those are just entries in history books. Yes, I know I said my memory is failing, but those things happened LONG ago during my formative years, and have apparently been burned into my brain. Ask me what I had for supper last Thursday, however, and I haven’t a clue. Those events, in particular the moon landing, were the start of many advances in science and technology. (But we STILL don’t live on the moon, damn it!) I recently ran across the following picture on George Takei’s Facebook page:
This pretty much sums up where modern youth are in the scheme of things. They take a lot for granted. Of course, so did I when I was young, as I recall. But I WAS in the forefront of the computer age. My first computer programs were stored on 1 inch wide punched paper tape. My first personal computer cost nearly $2000, and had the computing power of today’s calculators. (As an aside, I debated on whether to invest that $2000 in Apple stock at the time, rather than buy an Apple computer – I really should have thought more about it, but DANG IT! I wanted that computer!) My first experience with what would eventually be called the internet was over a 300 baud modem running over my phone line. So there HAVE been a lot of advances in my lifetime, but still no immortality, and no crater-front property on the aforementioned moon.
In case you think I’m being COMPLETELY morose in this post, I should point out a few of the GOOD things that have happened as I’ve grown older. I’ve been happily married for over 30 years, have two wonderful children, and own my own house (along with the bank, of course). I’ve also been gainfully employed (in essentially the same job) for over 30 years. My daughter is, herself, happily married to a wonderful son-in-law, and both are doing well in their careers. My wife and I have reached the point in our lives where we find it difficult to get each other presents, because we are financially stable enough to just go out and buy what we want when we want it, rather than wait for it to show up as a gift. My job is also stable, and I’ll be eligible to retire in only a few more years. I’m still able to ride a motorcycle, and haven’t succumbed to the need for a trike yet. My wife is starting her own home and web based craft business that she’s really excited about. I hope to contribute to the business myself as I have more time after retirement. All in all, things are pretty good for us. If not for those pesky things at the beginning of this tale, I could almost say life is perfect.
Now there are those of you out there who are quick to point out “You’re only as old as you feel”. Well, if that’s the case I must be ancient. I think, however, that it’s time to start changing my perspective. “You’re only as old as you think you are” sounds a lot better. So, starting tomorrow (or the day after, or maybe the day after that) I’m going to try to start thinking about NOT being old. After all, nowadays 50 is only considered middle aged. Mathematically, that means it should be EASY to make it to 100. So if I look at it that way, I’m NOT really that old. I should have another 50 or so years left in me, easy. (And there’s always that immortality gig, of course – still got high hopes for that). It will take a shift in my perspective, but I hope to be able to do that. I’ll let you know in a year or so, if I remember…
Have Fun and Ride Safe,