Almost Seventy-Two

curmudgeonFive or six years ago, my wife Muri and I were at a Neil Diamond concert at (where else?) the Greek Theater.  At the intermission, a man sitting nearby struck up a conversation with me.  Ever since I passed fifty years old, I’ve kidded with Muri that I must have a sign on my head that says Old People Talk to Me.   Maybe that’s why I find myself talking to myself so much these days.  But on to the point of this post.  My fellow Neil Diamond fan asked me how old I was and when I responded, he told me that he was seventy-five and that the road from sixty-five to seventy-five was a difficult one.  I have no idea why he felt the need to share this with me.  He looked pretty good for seventy-five and my Inner Curmudgeon was convinced he was fishing for a compliment. Neither of us were about to give it to him.

In about two weeks, I will turn seventy-two. I don’t need to experience seventy-two, three and four to know my fellow Neil Diamond fan was right. When I started Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog at the age of 64, my goal was to reflect on the process of growing older … and on the world around me though these Older Eyes.   I tried to balance the bad and the good side of aging, where possible, with a sense of humor provided by my Inner Curmudgeon.  That balance is harder to maintain at 72 and I find more frequently, my Inner Curmudgeon and I are in agreement. I don’t mean to whine … I am active, working, in good health and financially secure. I have a loving wife, gorgeous grandchildren, and more friends than I’d ever imagined having. Any objective soul would tell me I have a life that most seniors would take, as-is. I would not trade with anyone.

But I often find myself simultaneously restless … feeling as if I should be doing SOMETHING with the time I have left … and too tired to hunt down whatever that something is. The things I have to do … interesting engineering tasks and posting on my blog … don’t hold my attention like they used to. I find myself impatient with the banalities of modern life, like our obsession with celebritiesinner curmudgeon and social media. Commercials … on TV and the radio … increasingly drive me crazy as they depict us as the shallowest of species. My body insists on reminding me on a regular basis that it is wearing out through aches and pains with no logical explanation and through the growing list of small but useful things I can no longer do, like putting on my underwear standing up without holding onto something stable. When I look up ailments on the internet, I frequently find myself on pages dedicated to the elderly instead of to seniors but I refuse to change my blog to Elderly Eyes, not that it matters because I haven’t been posting.

To a significant extent that’s because the ideas I have for posts aren’t topics that I’ve chosen to post about in the past.  My Reflections from an Older Perspective are increasingly a critique of what often appears to be world gone crazy.  Politics.  Social media and the demise of common courtesy.  Religious intolerance, both of one religion for others and of secularists for the rights of the religious to follow their beliefs.  Intolerance of sexual preference and of gender issues on all sides.   And in the face of political correctness gone mad, a presidential candidate that is (in my opinion) a disgrace as a human being.  I often feel like a stranger in a strange land. I don’t like to feel that way because I’ve always thought it is a precursor in the elderly to giving up on life. I’m not ready to do that.

I have been worrying this post for over a week, writing and rewriting it, trying to find that balance between why aging sucks and why it doesn’t. That’s not going to happen so I’m going to publish it as is. Look at it as a cathartic or as my Inner Curmudgeon, escaped and running wild. Hopefully with this out of the way, I can get back to posting regularly … and figure out what that SOMETHING is that I’m supposed to be doing. Or not.  I’ve learned this in the past seven years … the secret to aging gracefully is acceptance.  Perhaps writing this rather curmudgeonly post is my way of accepting where I am right now.  OK, we’ll go with that.

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4 Comments on “Almost Seventy-Two”

  1. you look good for 72. : )

  2. bluestempond Says:

    If age comes with wisdom, perhaps perspective becomes clearer. Too bad it takes so long to get there.

  3. Cheryl P. Says:

    If I were as eloquent as you, I would of written that post. I just turned 64, I am now at the age you were when you started Oldereyes, I, too, am dealing with some of the same “coming to terms” with aging issues that you have been dealing with. I am sorry to hear that the road between 65 and 75 are to be rough ones.

    I guess, I am not prepared to lose sleep over the prospect of a bumpy ride because as you say…we have our health, some wealth, some loving family, some caring friends,..and for me, I have some denial working in my favor.

    The thing is while I recognize the fact I am now 64, I don’t feel like I am or should be in my 60s. I am fit and active so age seems that it isn’t something that “affects” me or hinders me but still…I feel as you said…at loose ends as that I should be accomplishing things that I haven’t managed yet to accomplish. The fact, that some of those things that I meant to do, I now know that I don’t have the time to really work those things in.

    As for the world in general…there is a part of me that is really sad about where we have come to as a nation. I always believed in “the American dream”. My husband and I married (crazy) young thinking if we worked hard and saved and worked some more we would find our way to a really comfortable life. AND I am not complaining as our life is comfortable but it continues to confound me how stressful and complicated it is to live that “good” life. For example: Should health insurance cost $1100. a month? (I am not trying to over share, I am trying to make a point) I struggle with all the bureaucratic nonsense that tells me because we don’t qualify for subsidies that our same policy costs what it costs but someone else gets the same policy for $300 a month because they can get subsidies. Of course, I sound selfish and ungrateful if I say that it is unfair because they have less and deserve more help. Doesn’t that somehow negate the fact we did without for years and worked to get to where we are? OK…still sounding selfish aren’t I? Ultimately, my point is that I am OK to help those that can’t help themselves but I would like it if people would at least try to help themselves.

    As for..the narcissistic front runner. I am sick, Bud! Really…I am sick that our two choices have come to this. Neither of these candidates are good people. How did we get here that our culture raises mean-spirited, unethical people to leadership and/or celebrity status?

  4. Paddy Says:

    You are 72, one commenter (Cheryl P.) is 64, and you are both ruminating on managing your ‘advanced’ years? I guess I did the same when I was approaching 65. Then something magical happened; yes, during those critical 65-75 years. I found that each day was getting shorter and shorter, and filling up with things I was doing. My TO DO list was getting longer and I felt better. But I started worrying where I was going to find the time to do everything on the list? At the same time, I realized it was not necessary to do the things on the list. Just making the list and thinking about them and imagining how to do those things best is enough. In the mean time, I try to eat well, exercise a little (I don’t kill myself doing it and worse, worrying about it), I don’t dodge the prescribed medications, I don’t over-medicate my body either, and I don’t follow too many rules. I try cooking things once in a while, take a walk every day (good thinking time), and I spend some time writing down whatever comes to my mind. Oh yes, there’s no point worrying about politics and what is going on around the world. I just try to view everything with a sense of humour. Happiness? Chasing this elusive idea is more fun than attaining it.

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