“Gee, you don’t look your age.” Thanks! Just what I wanted to hear from a cute, brunette nurse. Cute, YOUNG, brunette nurse. I was having a checkup and she had noted I was a day shy of the annual celebration of my birth. When your birth year ends in a fifty it’s easy to make the calculations. At least I’m not too old to enjoy her feminine form, dark brown hair and the splash of freckles across her nose. At least she didn’t say, “You don’t look that old.”
Buffett sang in my head, “One day I’ll soon be a grandpa. All the pretty girls will call me ‘sir’. Now, where they’re asking me how things are, soon they’ll ask me how things were.” I am a grandpa and the cute nurse did call me ‘sir.’
There was a time when my birthdays were fun. Frolicking in the glow of birthday candles before the need to have a fire extinguisher at the ready. Back before every move was accompanied by sound effects. Snap, crackle, pop, groan…. Now celebrating the memorial of my latest trip around the sun is…well…painful and not as much fun as it was fifty years ago. It is more a memorial to lost youth…and hair.
I should be thankful. I could have lost more than my hair. I have most of my body parts remaining…battered, wrinkled and scarred as they are. “You don’t look that old”…just almost that old.
Everything works…much more slowly and in one case much too often…geez, I just peed and now I must go pee again because I thought about peeing. Oh God, now it’s raining. There is something about the sound of falling or running water.
Did you know your nose and ears continue to grow right up until the day you die? Great, I’ll be Dumbo’s stand-in in heaven. To make things worse, it seems another body part is shrinking. I can’t wait to be welcomed into the great beyond with the biggest ears in the universe and the smallest…well…you know.
“Consider the alternative.” Okay, I get that. I am certainly not actively awaiting or embracing the “Great Wink Out.” Here today, gone, and somewhere else tomorrow…or in the next second or two. Somewhere else with dirt in my earthly face. No, I’m going for the smoking, hot body…cremation!
Will I be welcomed into a warm, welcoming light or will the light be accompanied by a blast your face off gust of heat? A bearded guy in a white gown by the name Saint Peter or an impish fellow dressed in red with a tail, horns and a pitchfork? Satan! How the hell are you? Whatcha got on the barbie?
I guess it is normal to contemplate one’s life whenever one celebrates a birthday. What you’ve accomplished, what you haven’t. New friends, old friends, dead friends, family and such.
The killer, a poor choice of words. The killer about getting older, at least for me, is a loss of energy…no a loss in the desire to be energetic. I’m in good shape…for my age, but I don’t have the stamina I once did. Keeping up with a two and five-year-old grandbabies are near impossible.
Often I hear, “You are (fill in the blank) for your age.” “You move well for your age.” “You still get stuff done…for your age.” “I’m not as good as I once was but I’m as good once as I ever was”…sometimes. That pretty much sums up my entire life now. “I’m not as good at (insert any activity) as I once was….” That even includes sleeping…ah, but you can sleep when you are dead.
I’m not really obsessed about age or death. I rarely think about it…except on a birthday or a random dream. I may be more concerned about age than death or the prospect of aging gracelessly or dying badly.
Every time I look in a mirror, I realize I don’t have a portrait hidden away aging while I maintain my youthful and dashing good looks. Okay, let’s be real, I didn’t have dashing good looks when I was youthful.
I’m trying to take Shakespeare’s attitude when he wrote in the Merchant of Venice, “With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” I guess it is just as easy to laugh as it is to cry…and both cause wrinkles to come. Happy Birthday to Me.
Song excerpt, Nothin’ but a Breeze, written by John Denver but the Jimmy Buffett version played in my head.
Check out Don Miller’s author page at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM