Monday, July 14, 2014

Getting old is like a quick ride down a short slide

When I was in my late 40s, I remember taking a car ride with a friend on a lovely summer day. At one point, we encountered "Old Billy" (I'm changing his name, but you get the idea). He was literally an old friend, in both senses of the term. Great guy, probably in his late 70s. And he looked ancient. There was a reason why everyone called him "Old Billy".

I remember looking at his wrinkles and age spots, assessing the remnants of his hair, and saying to my friend, "That will never happen to me. I mean, how could it? How could all that ruin happen to my body in the next three decades? Not. Gonna. Happen." It was clearly impossible. Old age would skip past me and attack someone else, someone who wasn't watching his back as closely as I watched mine.

Uh-huh. Well, it did happen, which I guess isn't that much of a surprise. I'm 65 and when I look in the mirror, the young guy is gone. But it's the speed of the transformation that really shocks me. I mean, a part of my body will look fine and youthful -- and then suddenly boom, all in one day (or so it seems) it appears old and decrepit.

Lately, I keep noticing body parts that have fallen in the line of duty. Like just last week, my hands suddenly had big, creepy veins on them. I'm sure they looked young just the day before. But now? Old-people hands. And so it goes as age travels to every part of my body, striking down youth and replacing it with age.

Seriously, getting old is like a quick ride down a steep slide. Before you realize it's happening, it's over. I'm an old guy now. And that's so weird.

Mind you, my brain is still 29 years old. And you know what? I'll take that prize and be happy with it. It's not "if you've got your health, you've got everything." (Though health is quite nice.) It's more, "if you've got a functional brain, you're a major winner."

And yes, I know. My clear-thinking brain could disappear too, in time. But for now, I think I'll consider myself immune to mental decline. Or maybe I mean that I'm just not going to think about that. I prefer my self-created myth: at the age of 103 (that's when I'll die; I've been told this by celestial beings so it must be true) I will still be blogging and writing books. I'm convinced of this. (Just like I was convinced that old age wouldn't happen to me. Ah, illusions. You gotta love 'em.)

How are you doing with your own aging process? Still too young to care? Good for you. But it'll getcha someday. It's inevitable.

Did this post cheer you up? You're welcome! Got a tale of woe about aging? That's what the comment button is for. Go for it!