- I Woke Up One Day and Realized I Might be Old
Lee J. Bentch
1 hour ago·5 min read
The future is now.
Photo by Max Böhme on Unsplash
It happened unceremoniously. I woke up one day and realized I might be old.
There were no parties, fireworks, brass bands, balloons, or champagne: just another sunrise, a cup of coffee, and a glance at the weather report.
“I am in my upper 60's,” I told myself. “Am I old?” I voiced out loud as I wondered if my Social Security check got deposited.
“I still think I am career-relevant,” I said, staring at myself in the mirror.
Ok, my beard is gray, and I shave my head to hide my natural baldness. I have a few skin spots, and my biggest fear is forgetting to trim the hair off my ears.
I struggle putting my socks and shoes on. I’m sure some of the clothes I’m wearing are over 20 years old. A few aches and pains remind me it’s obvious I’m not in my 30’s any longer.
“But does all this make me old?” I kept asking myself.
Hoping the mirror image would morph itself into a GQ Male Model or at least a stately portrait of Sean Connery, I admired my big belly while taking my morning medications and supplements.
I was perplexed. Not upset by any means, but I realized maybe I shouldn’t be in denial about the effects of aging.
“Aging can be good,” I told myself, “After all, our current President is 78, and I’m only 67.”
“Good whiskey and wine are aged. Antiques have value, and history is interesting.” I mused internally.
So, why do I feel old all of a sudden?
Because I am old, and I can’t deny it. But that doesn’t mean I need to resign myself to the same habits my parents and grandparents had.
The culprits driving me to this conversation are my body, social media, and the future.
I have aches and pains that accumulated over the last few years. I can’t do things I used to do. I’m the proud owner of ‘a beastly belly’ that won’t go away.
But, I feel good, somewhat like the interior of an old car.
A friend of mine took some semi-professional photos of me one day. Looking at them, I saw my grandfather staring at me. Somehow, my friend resurrected Gramps and photoshopped him onto my body.
I wasn’t amused, but the reality is it was me. It wasn’t magic; it was my family genetics exposing our aged physical traits.
OMG, I thought, I am old. But then again, am I? I did say OMG, and I know what it means. Maybe there’s hope that I’m not that old because I can talk like a millennial. LOL Emoji Emoji Happy Face Thumbs Up Emoticon.
I can’t deny it any longer; I am a Senior Citizen. An AARP, Medicare, Social Security card caring Senior. I’m also a multi-service veteran, holding two degrees, with a gaggle of grandkids and dogs, but that doesn't count.
My college degrees helped me with my career, but not my knees.
I’m just not as young as I think. Or as old as I look and feel.
No doubt, aging is a natural progression of life. Yesterday I was 25; today, I’m 67. But that’s not bad. It is just part of life, like realizing you are on the final hundred pages of a large Tom Clancy novel.
As with many others in my generation, my brain began encoding things in the early ’60s.
For example, music from 1960/70 has stuck to me like tape on a birthday present. Not sure that is bad. It was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
Besides, who can fault a vinyl record with a 2.5minute drum solo (as in In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by the Iron Butterfly), or listened with awe to the smooth harmony of Simon and Garfunkel. How many enjoyed the excitement of Chubby Checker when he released the Twist and survived the explosion of Rock ‘n Roll? Let’s not forget the legacy of Janis Joplin, the sounds of the Carpenters, and the fresh beat of ABBA.
We immersed ourselves in long necks and line dancing as Country Music evolved into Outlaw Country (at least here in Texas).
Music of the time was an incredible experience. As Mary Hopkin sang, “Those were the days, my friend.”
When I talk to my friends in their 40’s and 50’s and mention Woodstock, or the famous Beatles rooftop concert in 1969, the Cuban Missle crises, polio vaccines on sugar cubes, the Moon Landing; eyes glaze over, and the need to change the conversation is evident.
Then again, I didn’t care when my parents and grandparents talked about the depression, WWII, Bob Wills, the Korean War, and the introduction of television.
I’m glad I lived through such a vibrant time that shaped our history and represented the most significant technological advancements known to humanity.
As I age physically, I realize there are reasons why there is a Seniors Golf Tour, Major League Sports relegated to 20-year-olds, with exceptions, and hearing aids.
I get a little upset when I see my Dr., and the first thing they ask is if I’ve fallen since I last saw them. But I understand; I’ve many friends who have tripped, had hips collapse, and knees that went bad; some younger than me.
Luckily my family's DNA is generally healthy, and I don’t stretch my body to extremes anymore. I’ve learned to stay out of harm's way while enjoying life.
Those things I used to question in my early years are now habits.
I enjoy getting up before sunrise. I spend weekends reading, writing, watching movies, and listening to music. I like taking short power naps. I don’t have the desire to go places all the time. I’ve shifted my eating habits to light fiber-rich breakfasts, black coffee, small lunch plates, nutritious snacks, and dinner at 5:30.
I always look for the Senior Specials on restaurant menus and ask about AARP discounts.
Amongst the perils of aging, I still enjoy zesty martinis, stout cigars, a good bottle of wine, and a few shots of single malt scotch. But mainly in the comfort of my home.
My career is in technology. I have no trouble keeping up with the world of Digital Transformation, Edge Computing, Artificial Intelligence, and the latest in 5G Cell Development. But I have difficulty understanding the benefits of Facebook, Tik-Tok, Instagram, and Snapchat. Minecraft is out of the question.
My friend is a retired Actuarial Analyst. A super-computer replaced him. I understand as I believe in Digital Transformation, and super-computers are pretty impressive.
According to him, the statistics on aging are pretty standard, and you can’t argue it. Somewhere around 50, the world begins looking at you as if you’re old. But that doesn’t mean you have to change how you think.
Looking to the future, I can’t help but reflect on the past. In doing so, it’s evident that change is all around, and you either endorse it or stagnate.
Every day is a new gift. Treat it well.
- Date of publication:
- Sat, 06/05/2021 - 16:17
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