From the Archives: Getting Old

When I wake up in the mornings it takes me a while to get out of bed.  My back hurts, me knees ache, and my mouth tastes like I slept with a dirty gym sock in it. My wife says it smells that way, too.  Sweet lady, huh

I used to bound out of bed in the mornings after only three or four hours of sleep.  I still get up, I just don’t bound anymore.  More like lumber, or stumble.  Yeah, that’s it, I stumble out of bed in the mornings.

When I shave my face (and my head), I see a lot more wrinkles in the mirror than I used to.  I have an extra chin, or two, maybe three.  Okay, I have more chins than a Hong Kong telephone directory!  Before I had laser eye surgery, my glasses had gotten so thick that when I laid them down one day I started a small brush fire as the sun shined through them.  Ants were bursting into flames as they walked behind the lenses.  It was frightening!  Kind of cool, but frightening.

My oldest son has a three year old kid!  My youngest son has graduated from high school.  Somebody told me the other day that I look good for 65. Unfortunately, I’m only 52.

When did I get this old?  It kind of snuck up on me.  It seems like yesterday I was wearing a pair of purple and black striped pants to Felton Junior High School in Lennox, Ca.  Wasn’t I playing Little League just a couple of days ago?  I guess not.  Nope, I have come to the realization that I am getting old.

And I’m loving every minute of it!  I wouldn’t go back to being a teenager if you paid me.  I like being fifty-something, and I think sixty is going to be really neat-o.

I see a lot of people my age and older who seem to think that the later years of their life are meant for rusting away.  Not me, I want to be like Caleb in the Old Testament who was eighty years old and said, “Give me the land where the giants live.”  Go, Caleb!

I figure I am just hitting my stride as far as knowing what the heck life is supposed to be all about.  I am hoping that my coming years will be even better than the first ones.  If so, I’ll have good company…

  • Between the ages of seventy and eighty-three Commodore Vanderbilt added about 100 million to his fortune.
  • At the age of seventy-four Kant wrote his Anthropology, Metaphysics of Ethics, and Strife of the Faculties.
  • At the age of seventy-four, Tintoretto painted the vast Paradise, a canvas seventy-four by thirty feet.
  • At seventy-four, Verdi produced his masterpiece, Otello; at eighty, Falstaff; and at eighty-five, the famous Ave Maria, Stabat Mater and Te Deum.

Not bad, huh?  I think you can make the case that these people were successful in their later years.  I’m not anywhere near seventy yet, I’m still a spring chicken!

I like what James Hewett said about getting old:

“People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair. In the central place of every heart there is a recording chamber. So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, and courage–so long are you young. When your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and only then are you grown old–and then, indeed, as the ballad says, you just fade away.”

Psalm 90:12 tells us to “number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

I have lived about 19340 days.  I figure I have a few left.  I plan to get all I can out of these last ones.  After all, I am much smarter now than I ever have been!

Not worried about losing my hair… Jerry

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