There are a couple of times when I notice it the most. One is late at night, after I’ve turned off the TV and lights and head upstairs to bed. I hear the remaining cartilage in my knees crunching like a bowl of Grape Nuts. The other is when I actually break down to watch local news. I either see people I used to work with (I haven’t been on air since 1997) or kids that I think should have their IDs checked before they’re allowed to work. At those times, I feel a little on the old side.
Didn’t used to notice it as much. But the signs are there. I avoid growing a beard because the hair is mostly gray now. I get the hair on my head cut shorter ’cause there’s so much less on top. I feel incredibly skeevy if I even glance at a woman under 30.
There was a time when I could run and not feel like I was carrying somebody on my shoulders. I reading a story in My Weekly Reader that promised flat-screen TVs within 5 years. That was probably around 1966. I can also remember around that time trying to do the math to figure out how old I would be when the year 2000 rolled around. It was nearly impossible to imagine. By the way, where the heck are the flying cars?
And I never felt like Benjamin Braddock back in the day. Old women were moms and grandmoms and people like that… No cougars then, no “The Graduate” moments for me. Nowadays, I find my tastes have changed dramatically. Young women may be attractive, but there’s a knowledge and sophistication gap working here now.
Anyway, a piece in the New York Times asked the question the other day. “How Old Do You Feel?” Apparently, it depends on how old you are. The older you get, the older “old age” seems to you, says a national survey on aging. That is, it seems to occur later in life. When you’re 10, 30 seems old. When you’re 50, the sliding scale on what “old” is has slid. How old you see yourself is also not the same as your chronological age.
Those of us in our 50s think of ourselves as about 10 years younger than we are. All the plastic surgery, dieting and fitness centers probably have something to do with that. Along with Mr. Cialis, Mr. Viagra and Mr. Levitra. Here’s a telling quote from the Times story: “On average, survey respondents said old age begins at 68. But few people over 65 agreed; they said old age begins at 75.”
Of course, I want to do what I can to keep fooling myself that I’m not as old as I actually am. I’m trying to get back into the regular bike riding regime, but another piece in the Times has me worried (gotta stop reading that rag!). Anyway, this one points out that regular bicyclists have lower bone density that other people of the same age. Great, I can barely run because of the pounding on my knees… Now I find out that I’m going to break apart if I keep riding the bike.
I’m thinking that I’m going to need a break like the folks in “Cocoon” had… Finding some youth-giving alien pods in the swimming pool next the old folks’ home. Speaking of which, did you know that Wilford Brimley was only 50 when they made that movie? They had to put gray in his hair to make him look geriatric. Also, while I’m also for running into Tahnee Welch — NOT Steve Guttenberg — that’s just the way it’s gotta be.