A recent incident prompted me to contemplate a thought that bounced around in my noggin once too often and inspired a rather introspective exposé. I had a lot of fun writing it. Hope you folks have fun with the piece, too.
Enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.
How’d That Happen?
So, here I am––seventy years behind me while boldly diving toward my eighties. And you know, though I don’t mean to come across as egotistical, I’ve managed to weather pretty well. Despite absorbing my share of lumps, bumps, bruises, plus a few broken bones, I don’t look half bad.
Okay, my six-foot two-inch frame has compressed a pinch, but I still display good posture. Sure, I could have said that I still stand erect, but that one word could have inspired a whole different sort of age-related discussion that I’d much rather avoid.
Alright, so my waistline has adopted a bit of muffin-top, plus some navel-encircling jigglies that remind me of a massive hood ornament. No big deal, I merely view my entire mid-section package as insulation to keep my well-toned, six-pack abs at optimum operating temperature.
Yes, due to knee replacement, I must admit that running has faded from my list of physical activities, but I still walk at a brisk pace––without assistance.
And nope, I can’t deny that I may forget a name now and then or fail to recall where I might have placed something I had in my hand a few minutes earlier. Nor can I deny never having questioned why I walked into a room. Regardless, it usually doesn’t take long for the misfiled information to resurface. Besides, considering all the facts, figures, sights, sounds, rules, people’s names, knowledge, personal memories, and superfluous info absorbed by my brain, I think it’s earned the right to be a tad slow once in a while. After all, isn’t that what happens when computer hard drives approach their storage capacity?
All in all, I’m proud to state that wearing the senior citizen brand ain’t too bad.
Eyeballing the bathroom mirror, I smirk and ignore my physical alterations to mentally reflect on the chronological milestones I had to achieve to get to where I am today.
Infancy through childhood was a carefree breeze––Mom and Dad were always around to monitor my welfare. At six, I entered grade school–a new beginning. Thirteen and Jr. High represented a turning point. No longer a child, my voice began to change, and I stared at puberty. At sixteen I obtained my driver’s license, which initiated a new form of freedom and responsibility. During my eighteenth year, the voting age was lowered, and I now qualified. Twenty-one made it legal for me to drink and buy booze. Twenty-five granted the opportunity for reduced insurance rates. By thirty, I’d crossed over into the establishment zone (a ’60s thing). After that, birthdays were more often acknowledged by decades rather than individual years. Because fifty represented the mid-century mark, it was the exception. Once that silver lining passed, however, clocking decades again became the norm––with a few pauses along the way. Sixty-five provided the option for retirement, along with Social Security and Medicare. Seventy-and-a-half will now trigger the beginning of mandatory IRA withdrawals—and more income tax.
I sigh but resume self-analyzing.
Throughout the majority of my adult life, remaining physically and mentally active seemed to be an important aspect and common thread.
As kids, my friends and I always found something to do. Inside, outside, and regardless of the weather, we were always occupied.
Having been raised within a family of doers rather than watchers helped me develop the mindset that if there was something I wanted to accomplish, whether or not I’d performed the task before, very few things were impossible as long as I possessed the desire to do it. I learned a lot by doing.
Remaining active and optimistic also helped me foster the notion that age was relative. Then I took a closer look at some of my relatives and realized: Geez, they’re friggin’ old. But seriously, I truly came to believe that folks were as old as they wanted to be. If they thought of themselves as old, then they’d feel, act, and appear old.
Famous baseball pitcher, Leroy “Satchel” Paige so eloquently stated, “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” English author and philosopher, Aldous Huxley once said, “The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age.”
I continue to agree with both gentlemen’s perspectives.
Overall, my ‘I can do it’ and ‘old as you want to be’––mind over matter––outlooks have served me well. I’ve seen and accomplished many things. Yet, recently I realized that, when it comes to performing most physical chores, although the youthfully enthusiastic part of my brain continues to encourage––“Alright. Let’s do it”––my well-seasoned body and the less-inspired portion of my brain too often counter with––“Hold on a minute. Let’s talk about this first.”
I frown at the slightly wrinkled face staring back from the mirror. “Geez, I must be getting old. How’d that happen?”