If I live another year, I will have passed the three quarters of a century mark. I don’t feel old and how old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? Since a good many of my readers are up in age, I feel an obligation to dedicate at least one column a year to honor us. Hold on to your hat – here goes!
You know you’re getting older when everything hurts and what doesn’t – doesn’t work. The gleam in your eye is from the sun hitting your trifocals. It is when you feel like the night before and you haven’t been anywhere. Older means your little black book contains only names ending in M.D. I even get winded when I’m playing chess. Our children are beginning to look like middle age. I finally reach the top of the ladder and find that it is leaning against the wrong wall. To procrastinate means I just never get around to it. My mind is making contracts that my body can’t keep. I have all the answers now but nobody is asking the questions anymore.
You know you are getting old when your favorite part of the newspaper is “TODAY, fifty years ago.” When was the last time you turned the lights out for economic not romantic reasons. I sit in a rocking chair but I can’t get it started. It is a sure sign that you’re getting old when your knees buckle but your belt won’t. How many times have you looked back and regretted all those times that you didn’t take a chance when you could have? After painting the town red, you have to take a long rest before applying the second coat. I get worn out dialing long distance.
Real old is when you remembered that yesterday was your wedding anniversary. It is when you begin burning the midnight oil after 9 p.m. I have noticed lately that my back goes out more than I do. I really feel old when I forget my own phone number, or why I opened the frig?. It is time to check your age when your medicine cabinet looks like the drug department at Wal-Mart. It is a sure sign when you sink your teeth into a steak and they stay there.
I have news for you. The first 80 years are the hardest. The second are a succession of birthday cards. Once you reach 80 everyone wants to carry your bags and help you up the steps. If you forget your name, or anybody else’s name, or an appointment, or promise to be three places at the same time, or can’t remember how many grandchildren you have, you need only to say, “Gee, I’m 80”.
Being 80 is a lot better than being 70. At 70 people are mad at you for everything. At 80 you have a perfect excuse, no matter what you do. If you act foolishly, it’s your second childhood. Everybody is looking for symptoms of softening of the brain.
Being 70 is no fun. At that age they expect you to retire to a house in Florida and complain about your arteries (They used to call it lumbago). If you ask anyone to stop mumbling because you can’t understand them, they say you are getting deaf (actually, you are nearing 50% gone).
If you survive until you are 80, everyone is surprised that you are still alive. They treat you with respect for just having lived that long. Actually, they seem surprised that you can walk and talk seriously.
So folks, stay with me and let’s all try to make it to 80. They say it is the best time of life. People forgive you for almost anything. If you asked me, life really begins at 80. Too bad we can’t be born old and grow young.
The wise man Solomon wrote, “To every thing there is a season. . .a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance . . .a time to get and a time to lose . . .a time to love. . .and a time of peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). I still don’t understand why he left out one of the most important times – a time to grow old.
Someone wrote, “How do I know that my youth has been spent? Because my get-up-and-go just got-up-and-went. But in spite of all that, I’m able to grin, when I think of the places my get-up has been. Old age is golden, I’ve heard it’s been said, but sometime I wonder as I get ready for bed. My ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup; my eyes on the table until I wake up. Ere sleep dims my eyes, I say to myself, “Is there anything else I should lay on the shelf?” When I get up each morning and dust off my wits, I pick up the paper and read the obits. If my name is not there, I know I’m not dead, so I eat a big breakfast and go back to bed. As the poet once said, “grow old with me, the best is yet to be.” Shalom!