Thursday, January 13, 2005

Wearing Out

A blog I read last week kept popping up in my thoughts recently. Another person's take on the aging process. They felt the years stacking up and they knew they were getting old. From other posts on this blog, I decided they were in their mid thirties, low forties, tops.

And what kept nagging at me was, if they felt that old at, say 38, how the Hell should I feel at 52? I have at least 12 more years of wear and tear on this sad and abused excuse of a body and mind. Should I be making an appointment down to "Heald's Funeral Parlor & Imporium" to pick out a box, a plot and a headstone?

I kind of felt guilty as I read and chewed on this idea of getting old. I never really considered it. Oh sure, I have noticed specific physical changes. The liver spots, as they grow towards each other in an effort to give me a permanent tan. The odd apple shape I seem to have settled into. The shrubbery being cultivated in both ears. All the unpleasant body warps most folks have to deal with. I understood and accepted them. But I never stood back and contemplated the accumulative effect these changes had on my life. You know, that general overview. The big picture. The overall thrust and meaning of becoming an old fart. Lots more thinking about personal issues than I was used to, I'll tell ya.

I can remember when I was 6, all the 3rd and 4th graders seemed so much older and appropriately wiser. After all, they had had several more years to soak up Life's lessons than I had. When I was in the 6th grade, Junior High kids, well, they ruled. They were so cool. Some of them even liked girls. Just shy of grown ups, fer chrissakes. And in High School, I could not wait to get to college, let alone imagine myself there.

At some point in my college years, my perspective began to change. Rather than being impatient to reach that next big transition, I became uneasy about the transitions coming at me. The intense desire to be older had changed to a growing interest in remaining young. At age 23 or so, I knew this was as good as it gets. So, naturally, looking ahead to 30 was not something I looked forward to.

30 passed and I didn't feel any different than I did at 28 or 29. I was keeping up just fine and besides, I was way too busy making my mark and contribution to Society. Marriage, kids, and carreer. Life was serious business and I knew it. It was somewhere shy of 40 before I realized a serious chunk of time had passed.

For some reason, turning 40 was not the mid-life crisis it was painted out to be. By 40, I knew I wasn't going to be Donald Trump, Lance Armstrong, or Brad Pitt. I had resigned myself to simply being the responsible adult. I was no longer intimidated by the twists and turns that we all face. I had learned what to sweat and what not to. A new found wisdom or important clue to the meaning of it all dawned on me. I knew now that Life wasn't a series of chronological events we experience as ticks on some Universal Timeclock. It was more of a micro evolution. Life is an existence that constantly adapts as the enviroment around it changes.

Realizing this definitely took the edge off getting old. Put a new perspective on that trip we take from the cradle to the grave. We don't get old, we just wear out. Felt a whole lot better once I thought it through.

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