I remember playing tennis on a really fast grass court with my father when I was around 15. At that time, Dad would have been 55, but he used to charge around the court like a possessed maniac, and always gave me a great game. I clearly remember thinking how fit he was for an old man. Yes, mid-fifties, and I thought he was old.
Maybe I always thought of him as an old man, because there was that permanent 40-year difference between us. And maybe, following retirement, he did act, well, in a more elderly manner with his old-fashioned values, (not that there’s much wrong with that…). For me, it could be that Dad became old as soon as I was able to recognise him as my father.
On the other hand, me, I’m now 13 years older than Mr. B Senior was when I was playing tennis with him. As a sprightly 68-year-old, lucky enough to be blessed with good health and managing to maintain a fair level of fitness, I am so very much not old. No way. Not even slightly. Advanced middle-aged possibly, at a stretch. You see, I simply do not feel like an old man.
Until I look in the mirror first thing in the morning. Not the most pleasant way to start the day. Until I pull something whilst out jogging, and come limping home, knowing that it will take weeks to heal, rather than just a few days when I was younger. Until I………; hang on what was the third thing I wanted to say? Can’t remember for the life of me…..
Oh yes! Memory. Or rather, rapidly failing memory. The bit where you run up the stairs in your house, and then stand like a lemon at the top, wondering what the hell you are doing there. The bit when you’re ready to write this week’s blog, but you have to refer to your notes to remind yourself of the title, which may have been decided just a couple of hours previously. The bit where Mrs B. says: “Ready to go love?” and you have absolutely no recollection of where or when.
I’ve no doubt that if a couple of people saw me in the street, they would say something like: “That’s the shop I was telling you about. The one behind where that old bloke is standing…”,
If I don’t look at myself, don’t get injured, and don’t think too hard, then I am not yet old. Once I start really feeling my age, whether that’s soon or in a few years’ time, it will be time to probably acknowledge I’ve become old; which, of course, is what everybody else is already thinking.
When do you become old…
When I’m… 46. Right, this is my current age and I, at this stage of my life, understand that the years go passing by.
I don’t feel like I’m really getting older but, honestly, sometimes I look at myself and recognize, er, changes. Just some visual features that haven’t been here before.
Yep, I also colour my hair in natural brown as I try to escape being covered with grey hair – the biggest symbol to me of not getting younger. I’m also shy of having partly grey hair at 46.
One of the biggest age indicators to me is that I understand now that some ‘windows of opportunities’ are really closed. It’s like, I won’t be a millionaire or become a President. My life has been separated from those goals light years ago…
One of my university friends had died at 39 of a stroke, and I understand that we’re all mortal. It could be all of a sudden.
I also see that I’m, probably, in the middle of my life (hopefully) and my old age and finally, death is somewhere not too far away. I still don’t come to understand how to handle this new knowledge.
I hope to keep my health on a decent level as well as my physical form. So now I try to care more about my health as I understand that such things might be taken way.
But the only thing I know to avoid getting old no matter what your fitness would be, is to stay young at heart and be 46 (or 66) years young. Jim Lanier from Chugiak, AK, is just like that. Still mushing dogs: he says he’s 80 years young now.
This is, mentally, the key to me to never get old. I’m entering this cool game now.
When Do You Become Old?
When I was in my teens and twenties I wanted to be older. I understood then and believe now that older people will dismiss you opinions simply because of your age. Your thoughts are somehow… inferior.
Growing older didn’t bother me at all. In my mid-thirties I developed a smallish bald spot on the top of my head. I didn’t care for that much but the grey wasn’t a problem. It still isn’t. Thankfully, the bald spot hasn’t expanded too much over time.
The grey temples have become a grey head which has migrated into a grey beard. No problem at all. I’ll take that one step further; many women dye the grey out but the grey look is fine with me. It’s natural and can be elegant — classy.
I very much disapprove of people who are obviously older and don’t have even one grey hair. But these folks are easily surpassed by seniors who dye their hair a color not found in nature. Really? Who are you trying to fool?
When I was younger I could, and did, eat anything, anytime and never gained a pound. I weighed perhaps 220 or so but it was mostly muscle. I drank Coca-Cola like the stuff was water. That sugar was nothing, my body simply burned it. No longer; for the last twenty years I have had to watch what I eat or I gain weight, quickly. I no longer drink Coke. What about you?
And so, time marches on and I found myself in my fifties. That didn’t bother me. I still had my health and strength. I could work hard all day and enjoy a hearty dinner, then get up the next morning without sore muscles.
Now, I will share a secret with you; there was something about turning sixty I didn’t like at all. I’m not completely mental, I understand that the date is random as far as my body is concerned, 59 and 60 are mostly the same thing. But if you ask me now, I will say that I am old, I would not have answered that way a few years ago. I don’t like being sixty.
I am also aware that I am weaker now than I was a few years ago. I get tired and my eyes suck.
No, I don’t whine and people who know me will be surprised to read these words. But it’s true. There are a couple of consolations. The Americans have a saying: Growing old is better than the alternative, and I guess that’s true. I would also like to think that I consider things more deeply now. I hesitate to use the word wisdom but I will say that I am more likely to consider a topic from a serious perspective. Except maybe getting old, that blows chunks.