Random thoughts on reaching the Big Five-Oh.
I know people mean well, but I really don't take much encouragement from phrases such as "You're still just a boy" or "Age is just a number." ("Just like cholesterol is just a number and -- hey, quit clutching your chest!")
And when someone chirps "50 is the new 40," I want to respond with "Yes, and 'GIMME A BREAK, YOU &^%$#@ MORON!' is the new 'I prithee, sir, kindly refrain from patronizing my age-related anxieties.'"
Classic songs take on a whole new meaning when you start the sixth decade of life. Some of the ditties can really bring you down. "Glory Days," Springsteen? If my glory days were when I had zits, dandruff, a polyester wardrobe, and no driver's license, that means now I must REALLY be "Boring In The U.S.A." Rolling Stones, in case you wondered, "time, time, time, is NOT on my side." (The late) Jim Croce, if I could save time in a bottle, it would probably get lost behind the moldy bread, the leftover macaroni, and whatever that is pulsating in the back of the refrigerator.
And when the Beach Boys harmonize "Wouldn't it be nice if we were older?," I think the only "good vibrations" they deserve are from some aging love handles.
Teens will give you a blank stare when you say something like this, but time really does become a blur the older you get. Now I'm worried about my carbon footprint, when --just a blink ago --I was worried about sticking my foot in my mouth around a cute sixth-grade classmate.
Many of my contemporaries suddenly find themselves entering a room and trying to remember why they entered it. I'm worse. When I enter a room, I think, "Four walls! A ceiling! A floor! A door! Whoa! I wonder if anyone has patented this concept yet????"
As a Baby Boomer with bad follicle genes, I'm hit with a double whammy. Not only must I do a "comb-over" of my hair, but I'll also have to do a comb-over of my Social Security account.
Luckily, being a simple man has helped me elude any significant mid-life crisis. You know, like going wild with a Ferrari and a redhead. I'm satisfied with an oil change and a peek at the mechanic's tool calendar.
I will say that I have mellowed in the past decade. I've learned to be less temperamental. I choose my battles. Not many days do I miss gritting my teeth and reminding myself, "This is the day the LORD has made. I will rejoice in it." (Of course I eventually come to the realization that He undoubtedly made the day on either a Monday or a Friday.)
There are loved ones I miss, and goals I still hope to obtain (writing for Mad Magazine, traveling to my ancestors' homeland of Scotland, maybe adopting a child), but I try to take it one day at a time. I encounter youngsters who "can't wait" for some far-off milestone, and embittered senior citizens who can't let go of some over-romanticized past. I think I've learned to make the best of my situation. Perhaps a song WOULD be soothing in this case. To paraphrase that modern-day troubadour Stephen Stills, "If you can't be with the age you love, love the age you're with."
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