Sunday, September 26, 2004

When did we get old?


That’s an interesting question ... When did I/we get old?

I was at Columbia Market, our local supermarket, getting my current addiction – a custom mix of about 50% hot cocoa topped off with French Vanilla coffee. My perception was that I had a movement and carriage not unlike that which I had in the 60's. Certainly nobody mentioned otherwise. Yet it dawned on me that, while internally I was clearly still in my early twenties, there were things – things I’d only read about, or heard read on NPR book readings – which had changed.

Where my hair had been auburn, it was now peppered with white. Or the white was peppered with touches of brown, blond and intermittent auburn cum whatever. I had not reached the distinctive white, grey, black of my recently deceased birth mother – not the white touched with gray of my mom ... a delightful woman who passed into memory some five years ago. When she passed, mom was 78, and mom was 84 – neither “acted” their age, neither had really changed their perception of the world, nor had they lost their humor ... right to the moment they drifted off to sleep for the final times.

Anywho, I’m digressing ... or maybe I’m not. Age is curious. It sneaks up on you. LOL ... I remember when I first noticed a change in my hairline ... I wore my hair short – like Steve McQueen in “Bullett” ... in fact, I think it was seeing that pix that got me to change my hairstyle. I liked the scene where he gets up and just uses his hand to get his hair in order. It was efficient, and it was “cool”.
Moreover, I could get that style using a razor comb – that I still use all these decades later. No more dad telling me I should go to a barber, and no more “long haired hippy”. Anywho, one day I was doing the quick brush thing and stopped to look in a mirror – something that isn’t necessary when the hair just lays down naturally. For some reason, maybe to see what it would look like, I brushed my hair back into a “Vinny Barbarino” style popular when I was in High School. Suddenly I realized I had a few extra inches of skin on my forehead. It was strange.

I was losing my hair – had a receding hairline – WOW! That was neat! Very strange, but neat. Then everything seemed to go on hold. A single father, with an infant son who all too fast grew into a man and wanted nothing more to do with family. Empty nest ... a grown daughter in the picture, and yet another family – three additional daughters and another son. Time passing ... the passage of time ... and I think I’m still who I was ... have I really aged?

There are pains – self imposed injury ... doing things I always did, and having accidents not unlike those I’ve had before ... but now the healing seems much slower. Or, maybe, the pain has reached a point where the body has decided to save time and simply let it remain – a reminder that it would rather not be subjected to the physical abuse which comes from building rock walls and moving weights many times that which the doctors now say is healthy for me.

Getting old. When did it happen ... I’m not old ... but try telling that to this bio-mechanism I inhabit.

I was in my mid-thirties when I decided it was time to retire; time to live my life as it would be lived if I was three or more decades older. Now... LOL ... now I’m approaching that mythical age and looking to have the life more usually associated with those three decades or more younger than my current chronology would prescribe – but then, I hold as role models Pablo Picasso and Tony Randall. But now, the problem is not one associated with my acceptance of age – rather it is to find a woman of the age I was lo so many decades ago – a woman who looks and sees a father for her unborn children.

I’m writing this, and NPR is doing a program on AGE ... Mel Brooks ... the thousand year old man, with over forty-two thousand children .... “and not one comes to visit” ... LOL ... yep, I can relate to that.

When did I get old? You know ... I haven’t .. Yet ... but I’m working on it. Hell, the alternative isn’t even worth considering ...

Enjoy ... the real adventures lay ahead ... that which has passed is just the basis for the “tall tales” which will entertain those you meet along the way ...


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