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Thoughts for Thursday (09/01/2022)- Older Than I Once Was

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think of myself as “old”.

To clarify, I don’t know if you think about yourselves as “old”, not whether you think of me as “old” or not. I don’t want the answer to that question.

I know my body disagrees with me every morning when it takes far longer for me to get out of bed than it used to, but still. I’m not old, am I?

I’m pretty sure it was only a few years ago that I was just starting high school with all the opportunities in the world and nothing but time ahead of me.

Shockingly, if you check this annoying thing called a calendar, the 1980’s were somehow more than a few years ago.

When did this happen?

Do you ever notice that when you need to enter your birthdate online in one of those scrolling date selector things, it takes far longer than it should before you get to your birth year?

I’m pretty sure this is all a conspiracy.

Also, why do they start with 2022?

What infant is online entering their date of birth to sign up for a free newsletter or entering a contest to win a year’s supply of Mac and Cheese?

Mmm, Mac and Cheese.

Even now, when I see someone in their 30s, I still think of them as “older” people, until I remind myself that actually, these are now the “younger” people.

After consulting with that same annoying calendar, it seems I haven’t been in my 30s for a very long time.

Again, when did this happen?

I know that over the last 40 years, I’ve done a lot of things. I went to school, found the love of my life, worked hard, got married, raised two children, opened a business, worked even harder, lost people I loved, made more mistakes than I would have ever imagined, and tried to enjoy as much of it as I could find time for. Which wasn’t near enough.

I certainly understand that the years have gone by, but I know it didn’t seem to move especially fast at the time. I can distinctly remember a Calculus class I felt like I was in for an eon and there were several family gatherings that I know were not longer than a few hours, but I’m certain the calendar changed while we were there.

Maybe I’m thinking about New Year’s Eve?

My body also tells me it was more than a little while since I was at the peak of physical perfection. I may have even gained a few pounds over the years which I blame on unfair genetics and certainly not my poor diet, lack of exercise, and sedentary lifestyle.

Did I tell you I went to my Kindergarten Reunion? It was terrible. All everyone talked about was how much weight I’d gained since they last saw me.

So, we’ve confirmed that time has indeed passed. But does that mean that I’m old?

When a membership invitation for AARP arrived in my mail, I did not think so.

After putting on my reading glasses and verifying that it was indeed my name on the envelope, I threw it away in disgust.

Obviously, a clerical error of some type.

But then I received another…

And another…

And another…

All told, I believe I was the recipient of nearly 678 AARP invites, which led me to believe that perhaps they did not agree that this was sent in error. So, I started to look them over.

Did you know that AARP members get discounts on dining, travel, entertainment, insurance, technology, and much more? Your membership includes a bimonthly magazine, free hearing tests, savings on prescriptions and a personalized sign that says, “Get off my lawn!”.

Did I mention the free trunk organizer just for joining?

This was the first time that I realized that getting older might have some benefits.

While I’m certainly not there yet, a time when I might be able to retire doesn’t seem like it’s in some absurdly far-off future anymore. I may even look at setting a tentative date and starting a “Countdown to Retirement” calendar, unless AARP already has one I can download.

Did I mention the free trunk organizer?

But does joining AARP (which I most certainly did- again, trunk organizer!) mean that I’m officially old?

I do not believe so, but let’s continue to investigate.

We have all heard the adage, “You are only as old as you feel”.

Some days I feel 25 and some days I feel 95, so that’s a bit inconclusive.

Simon and Garfunkel sang, “I am older than I once was, and younger than I’ll be”.

It sounds profound, but is it really? Not very helpful in this case either.

I checked several other famous quotes looking for some definitive insight onto whether I am old or not.

“It’s not how old you are, but how you are old”- Jules Renard.

Jules was a French author who died at 46, so not really a credible source.

“Wrinkles will only go where the smiles have been”- Jimmy Buffet.

I like Jimmy, but that dude’s been 19 his whole life, so what does he know about getting old?

“The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles!”- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

This sounds exactly like something an old person would say.

“Getting old is like climbing a mountain; you get a little out of breath, but the view is much better!”- Ingrid Bergman

I have never climbed a mountain, so I cannot confirm this.

“Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional!”- Walt Disney

Ok, this one seems a little more on point. Perhaps age doesn’t have to dictate how immature I can continue to act?

“Act your age.”- Everyone who knows me

Wait, I’m confused again.

“It’s important to have a Twinkle in your Wrinkle”.

I am 100% sure this is a sign you can buy from the Hallmark Store.

“You know you’re getting old when you stop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you can do while you’re down there.”- George Burns

This one is very accurate, and I am feeling attacked.

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”- George Burns

George Burns again? I really like this one. If anyone understood getting older, it was this guy. He lived to be 100!

I’m starting to see a theme here. Getting older and being old are not the same thing.

Perhaps my age is not always relevant.

It most certainly is when I can save money on an early bird special or pay a lower price for my movie tickets, but maybe when it comes to what I think of myself and what I still have to accomplish in my life, it means nothing.

I know that getting older has challenges, but so did being young and stupid.

I need to work a little smarter, eat a little healthier, move a little more often, and take the time to enjoy where I am, where I’m going, and where I’ve been.

To finish up here on a final quote:

“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”- Robert Frost

Now this might sound crazy, but my guess here is that Mr. Frost isn’t talking about the time of day at all.

He might just be using a writing technique called a “metaphor”, where he isn’t being literal with his description, but is making a point about aging.

Hopefully, I’m learning more every day as I get older as well.

And while I begrudgingly accept that I may be getting older, I am definitely not getting old.

And we’ve already confirmed that getting older has many benefits.

Did I mention the free trunk organizer?

Until next time- Be Well and Stay Safe,

Uncle Steve

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