The Old Man

Sixty is the new forty probably uttered by some hopeful fifty year old.

old driverIf you take the time to notice, part of the fun of growing old is seeing how different being a senior citizen looks than you thought it would at forty.   At forty, you probably noticed how Dad would puff himself up when someone … usually a waitress or salesgirl … said, Oh, you don’t look that old!   You thought to yourself, She’s trying to get a tip or make a sale, Dad.   You probably listened to parents and grandparents talking about aliments and failing body parts in clinical, sometimes graphic, detail and thought, Man, I’ll never do that.  You may have set off every day for a run … or 30 laps at the pool … convinced that taking care of yourself would protect you from those little pains Mom was always complaining about.   You probably uttered the phrase, I think you are only as old as you feel, thinking that was always a good thing.   Then, you got there, and in the inimitable words of my Mom, you said, Well, I’ll be damned.

I am seventy-two.  People regularly express surprise when I tell them that, and quite frankly, I don’t care if it’s flattery.  I talk about ailments and medical issues with my contemporaries and notice that my standards for Too Much Information have moved substantially farther south.   I now set off for a daily walk, achingly aware that those years running the Santa Ana River trail or piling up laps in the community pool haven’t spared me from spontaneous cricks, cramps and pains that seem to show up for no reason at all then vanish mysteriously in a few days, as if to say, How old do you feel now?  To any sixty-year old considering extrapolation quote at the top of this post, seventy-two is definitely not the new fifty-two.

Lately, my lovely wife, Muri, has been noticing that lately I talk about myself as old.  You never used to do that, Bud, she says, and it worries me.   As is usually the case, she’s right, but how do I balance a graceful acceptance of aging and acting younger than my 72 years?   In an interview with this week, when director-actor-musician Clint Eastwood was asked how he keeps going strong at 86, he said, I Never Let the Old Man In.   Who am I to argue with success … but still, I have to wonder … when Clint stands naked in front of the mirror or rolls out of bed with that twinge in his back, doesn’t he know, deep down, that the old man’s already in?   I’d put it differently.   I have decades of younger Buds living in my head, each willing to drive this old body.  The forty year old whispers, as I’m walking in the park, Let’s jog a mile.  I bet we could build up to a marathon.  The fifty-year old suggests that I still have time to write that novel.  The sixty year old tries to convince me I can replace thatbud-alfa-68 overhead lighting fixture in the laundry room without hurting myself.   But the old man in my head just says Don’t or Be Careful.  So, that’s why I Never Let the Old Man Drive even if it costs me a bruise or a stumble now and then.  

Explore posts in the same categories: feeling older

Tags: , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

3 Comments on “The Old Man”

  1. Barry Says:

    My motto has become “just keep moving”

  2. I sure can relate to your words here. I too will be 72 in less than a month and it’s like each day I can feel a little more of strength I had seeping out. Some days it doesn’t just seep but it flows like a mighty river over which I have no control! Two women at our church -cousins they are -are both now 83 years old and both are still really strong workers in and around the church. One though is really something to behold. She stlll moves at a pace that has very little difference these days than it had 50 plus years ago when her children were little ones! Needless to say, I envy both of them for the vitality they both still have. Not all that many years ago now, I could take the stairs to the second floor or the basement with a bit of speed. Today, not so much! Matter of fact, I tend to relegate 95% of my activities to the first floor of my big old house. Part of that is because I tend to have a little problem with balance at times and truthfully, living alone here, I am really afraid of having to go upstairs or down in the basement unless it is an absolute necessity for fear of falling and I sure as hell don’t need to deal with broken bones and casts! My right knee tends to play tricks on me and gives out little signals -frequently -that it wants to make my legs turn in a different direction than it is supposed to go and when that happens, it also gives out a warning too with a swift pain in the kneecap that can easily knock me over one of these days. Stairsteps now, when I do have to use them, are taken at a much slower pace, almost down to close to a crawl, and the name I answer to now of Grandma really strikes me hard then as I am moving at about the same pace my own Grandma moved at when she was in her 70s and until her passing at age 83! But then I think too and this is how I generally answer people who ask how I’m doing these days and I tell them as long as I am stll able to get out of bed, stand up fairly straight after a few kind of painful movements, and walk around, I’m doing okay. Not pushing up any daisies just yet but somedays, I do feel like just laying down and watch the day and the world whiz by me, wishing I still had a bit of that old speed to my gait that has up and left me.

    • oldereyes Says:

      I have a very good friend who has struggled with awful back problem but still, last month he and his wife took their grandkids to London. His motto is, “just keep moving.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: