Monday, December 13, 2010

Only As Old As I Feel. . .

I had a strange physical symptom recently - my left boob became sore.  When it was checked, it turns out to be something that happens to many men when they “move from middle to old age.”  "This is pretty common in men in their 60's," the doc said.

WTF???  Old age?????  Moi?????

I’ll be 64 on the 8th of next month.  I know I look old, and now my body is doing old things, but I can’t believe old age is here already.

When I was a kid, I thought old people sat around watching TV and selecting their coffins and burial plots.  I don’t do any of that.  I feel young—not the youngest I’ve felt in my life, but young.  There are so many new things that interest me.  There are so many things I want to do, see, read.  Retirement feels like a never–ending summer vacation from school.  I am happy to be almost 64, and I don’t feel old.

Beni and I have talked often about how older people are treated in our society.  Our observation, and, more recently, our personal experience, is that older people aren’t listened to as seriously as people listen to younger people, that older people aren’t included in some interesting planned activities, that older people, in summary, start to become invisible.

My 93–year–old mother says that getting old isn’t for softies.  I am beginning to realize what she means.  It takes courage to go through the aches and pains of later life, and it takes imagination and energy to keep the mind active and engaged.  It takes discipline, humility, and lots of humor to grow old.

I hope I have what it takes.

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