Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Joys of Getting Older

old, man, elderly, senior, people, bench, sitting, pigeons, birds, animals, sidewalk, city, urban, buildings, lifestyle, Portugal, flagI remember an incident from when I was a kid--preteens maybe. Somebody mentioned how we were approaching a new millennium in a few decades. They talked about how it was going to be a big event. I distinctly recall doing the math in my head and realizing that I was going to be in my late thirties and much too old to really enjoy the festivities. It didn't occur to me that my young, energetic parents were older than that already.

In a little less than a month, I'll turn 52. I've lived on this Earth for more than half a century. Yes, there is a downside to that. My bones are getting creaky and I walk with a slight limp. I can't stay up as late as I used to, though I think that has more to do with my finally having sense enough to know I never could stay up as late as I did. But there is a much larger upside than I ever imagined. Here are a few of the perks of being a geezer, or at least a geezer in training:

  • I don't feel like I need to impress people anymore. I remember when I was younger how I wanted people to like and respect me and I did stuff that I really didn't like to get them to do it. I now see the irony in doing things that go against my personal code to gain respect. I have this neat relationship with God and myself now and, while I hope folks like me, I like me and, if you don't, well, that's your loss. Besides, I have the most amazing set of friends anyone could ever hope for, so any more would just be gravy. Mmm...gravy. 

  • I have perspective. I used to see every negative event in my life as a disaster on a scale only Irwin Allen could depict. For all you young whippersnappers, look him up. You'll understand what I mean. But now that I've seen a lot more of those events come and go I now see that they're gone and I'm still here. My old speech teacher, seeing me do my Chicken Little imitation (look him up while you're at it) would look at me in the middle of a rant about how my world was coming to an end and simply say, "And the sun will come up tomorrow." He was trying to point out to me that life would go on and things would get better. Or they wouldn't. And either way it was going to be okay. 
sunset, sun rays, beach, sand, ocean, sea, shore, waves, horizon, summer, sky
  • I feel like I have a new role. When I first started working at my school, I was the youngest teacher on the staff. Somewhere along the line, though, something happened and I became one of the oldest. I used to be one of those young pups that constantly looked to the veteran teachers, especially my mentors, Dan and Becky Daniel, for ideas and guidance. Well, this year, an amazing first year teacher who happened to be my student teacher last year is working right across the hall from me. I have the honor of giving her my perspectives when she comes to me troubled with something that happened in her class or looking for guidance. Yes, she's been to school more recently and may have some innovative ideas that I've not heard of, but I know what's important and what can be left alone for a bit. And in my circle of friends, my nerd night buddies, when I joked that I was the DOFF (Designated Old Fart Friend) of the group, my good friend Jonathan said he sees me as the wise intelligent one. When the heck did that happen? 
  • I'm more comfortable in my skin. I've lived my whole life in a battle against my gut. I don't remember a time in my life when I wasn't either dieting or breaking my diet. From the time my mom took me shopping in the husky department at Sears & Roebuck (yes, it was once called that), I've been aware that I'm fat. And for the first time ever, I can live with that. Yes, I try to walk (not run--see previous creaky bones comment) and lift weights when I can and I generally eat a healthy diet because I just feel better when I do. But I also have some pizza when I want to with not even a little regret. I'm trying to lose some weight so my bones will creak less and the doctor won't be so insistent on putting me on cholesterol medications, but not because I'm worried that I look fat. When I used to look in the mirror, I always saw a fattie. Actually, I still do, but I don't try to suck my gut in and pretend I'm skinny anymore. 

There you go. I would add more, but I'm old and I forgot them. I guess that is a joy. I can experience things for the first time over and over. So forgive me if I accidentally write this post again next week.