Yes, Old

oldIn February of 2009, I started posting on Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog under the slug line, Reflections from an Older Perspective.  Many of my posts relate to Feeling Older and in the last few years, as I’ve traveled the road toward the Big Seven-Oh, I’ve talked more about Being Old.   That subject matter often spills over into my sharing at the two men’s meetings I attend weekly.   Last week, a friend from my Tuesday night meeting told me that I should stop talking so much about being old.  He is roughly my age and he apparently doesn’t want to be branded old by association. My friend recited a list of things he can still do that many younger men can’t do, as if that somehow made him younger.   I, too, have a list of things many younger men can’t do.  For example,  I can listen to my friend, disagree with his point of view but keep my mouth shut (well, except here).  I can sit in a meeting, business or otherwise, and not express an opinion.   I can post a six-hundred word post almost every day.  None of those things make me any younger.  I’m still sixty-nine.

If someone says to me, Man, you’re old, or even, You’re an old coot, I’m likely to say, Yes, I am.  What about it?  That’s because the way I see it, when you are within a decade of the life expectancy of the average American male, you are indeed old.  It’s a simple fact, not an insult.  I call myself those things regularly in my posts. Occasionally, some well meaning (usually younger) person tells me, You are only as old as you feel, the problem being that if I am honest with myself (which I try to be), some days I REALLY feel old.   When I mention my age and someone says, I’d never have guessed you were that old, I’m pleased not because they thought I was younger but because my zest for life, one of the things I like best about myself, shows.  And I really grow weary of hearing how Sixty is the New Forty.  Yes, I am more active than many forty year old men and certainly more active tham my father was at sixty-nine.  But that just means Sixty is the New Sixty.  And sixty-nine the new sixty-nine.  Et cetera.

There are things I like about being old.  I like being semi-retired and the freedom it gives me to pursue my avocations and learn about things other than engineering.   I like it that I no longer feel the need to understand everything.  I am more comfortable in my own skin than at any time in my life.  There are things I don’t like about being old.   I don’t like waking up achy sometimes or sleeping less well.  I don’t like it that I have to be careful because my balance isn’t what it used to be or that I can wear myself out playing with my grandkids.  I don’t like it that there a lot more years behind me than ahead.   But there were things to like and not to like about any decade of my existence.  On balance, I would say that I have felt more fulfilled in my sixth decade than any that came before.  So, I don’t mind if you call me older.  Or, old.  Yes, Old.

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3 Comments on “Yes, Old”

  1. Thank you for the encouragement to say publicly Yes, I am a disabled and I like that, I thank God for being alive and share my abilities with next to me.

  2. territerri Says:

    I like that you celebrate your age instead of lamenting it. At 46, I often feel the impact of age slowly creeping up on me. I don’t welcome the signs of aging, but I realize too, that the older I get, the less anxious I feel about dealing with everything in life. I’m calmer, less likely to care what others think, and have yet to wish that I could go back.

  3. Rick Gleason Says:

    Enjoyed your thoughts on this subject Bud. Like you many of my own posts deal with the subject of aging as well.

    My father died at the age of 32. We all know people whose lives as we measure them were cut short. With that in mind we should never complain about getting older as it’s a privilege denied to many.

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