I was quite struck the other day as I purchased some fast food at Carl Jr.’s and noticed that I had automatically been given the “Senior Discount.” For the first time ever I was not asked if I was old enough to get the discount, if I wanted the discount, or even if I deserved the discount. This came as quite a shock to me.
Why was it a shock? Well, I frankly do not know. I started going gray in my mid-thirties. At my 20th reunion I was one of the two finalists for the person with the grayest hair. People have asked me for a long time why I did not use Grecian Formula. So appearance wise, I guess I had it coming. But why now, and not 5 years earlier when I had as much gray hair as I have now?
Then I looked at the mirror to see if I could see any difference. Oops!, I don’t remember that bunch of wrinkles, and when in the heck did I get a turkey neck? Maybe the fact that my beard is almost all gray convinced that poor, unknowing, benevolent fast-food worker that I deserved a 10% break, because after all “damn he looks old!” (My words, not hers). Oh no! Are those age spots on my hands and arms? Certainly she couldn’t have mistaken my limp from my recent Achilles surgery as a sign of my advancing years, could she? Did the fact that I ordered a turkey burger instead of a big, fat, greasy cheeseburger convince her that I was watching my cholesterol?
Then I remembered a conversation with a co-worker where we discussed the different types of medication we took every day, and how we both decided not that long ago that playing basketball with a bunch of 20-25 year olds at church was not such a great idea. After all, unless you are making 7 figures shooting hoops then you can’t justify having to ice your knees down every time you finish playing.
So what do I do now? Absolutely nothing. The age thing is not an obsession. In fact, it is downright fascinating to watch my friends and me gradually “Slipping into Senior Status.” My wife Molly constantly reminds me that getting old is not a big deal.
I gained a passion for writing after having survived Honie Lou Laster’s Senior English class in high school. That was 1973-1974. She told me to write what was in my heart and on my mind without a thought about what anyone else said. All she asked was that I observe proper grammar and that I avoid starting more than one sentence per paragraph with the word I. After graduation Honie Lou became a client and a friend, and she loved to write letters. We wrote back and forth for many years, and every so often she would send me back my letters with corrections in grammar and suggestions about how to improve my writing style
Years have gone by with no real time or energy to do what I have always wanted to do – write. Molly always encourages me to do it. There is no illusion that I have the skill and talent to become a world-class writer, but again, Honie Lou said to write what I felt and what I know. I know about growing old. Certainly I can write the occasional blurb about my observations of this journey into old age, both the good and the bad. In fact, it might be somewhat therapeutic.
So, here it is. The start of my blog about getting old. A way to quench the desire to put my words down so others can see them. It is my sincerest hope that someone out there will enjoy them. Let me make one more quick thank you to someone else for inspiring me to write my thoughts. My daughter Erica and son-in-law Shaun are backpacking through Central and South America. I look forward to the posts on their blog at www.overyonderlust.com. They have inspired me to take a crack at this blogging thing.
I can’t promise how often I will post, but I promise that I will continue to put my thoughts down as they come.
Here’s to old age!