One day I will be old
I’m going to grow old. Apparently. But not until the signs and symptoms of aging become overwhelming and impossible to deny. Until then, ‘old’ will be reserved for people older than me, even if only by a day.
I’ve always had an off-kilter idea about aging. In high school, someone asked me what I’d like to do when I got old. I said, ’you mean really old, like 40? If I live that long, I’ll start doing drugs. It doesn’t matter if you get addicted. When you are that old.’
By the time I hit the big four-oh, my opinion had taken a 180-degree turn. Being an addict isn’t a good thing at any age. And, forty had become the new thirty. Or at least being forty didn’t feel like I imagined old age feels.
I now don’t consider my sixty-year-old self as ‘old.’ And have no intention of nurturing an addiction. But, there are signs I’m aging.
When I go to the gym, the kid in reception greets me with ‘Good evening Sir.’ Not ‘Whassup Dude’, than most other people get. I guess the kid was brought up to respect his elders. Kudos to his parents. But, still.
As I’m writing this, it’s late on a warm Monday morning. I’m sitting outside a cafe, iced coffee in my cup, and listening to a freshly curated workout playlist on my AirPods. Looking around, I think I’m the youngest person sitting outside the cafe. But, I realize that estimate depends on my perception.
First cut. Everyone sitting here is either retired or on vacation. These folks must be; it’s mid-morning on a workday.
Second cut. I’ve seen the same faces here every day since the weather turned summery. So, the other customers are probably like me and retired. In the Bay Area, retirement is possible or almost impossible when you pass some threshold of decades. Retirement at a young age is rare — the proverbial ‘unicorn.’
Third cut. Everyone has grey hair. When I was working, there were only two guys with grey hair. Me and one other. Now, I have a naked scalp under my baseball cap. Shaving my head became a thing shortly after I stopped working, and it no longer mattered if I looked like Vin Diesel gone to seed.
So, yeah, I’m still playing along with the idea I must be the youngest here and, therefore, I’m not old. But it’s a close-run thing.