The Benefits of Being an Old Man
THIS IS A PORTRAIT OF OLD AGE
Okay. So I'm facing the harsh fact
that I am an old man. Maybe not to you, but when I see "me" in my bathroom mirror, I grimace and say to myself, "look at those road lines on my face," and I am honest. These road lines, or wrinkles to the more-discerning reader, mean that over the past 58 years I have done myself some living. Some hard. Some good. And some that I cannot put into a category.
At the age I am now, 58, "I" was the group of people I made fun of for being "ancient," or a "relic," when my friends and I were the sweet, tender age of 16. Yes, sir. From ages 35 to 50, were "old timers" to me. We would sometimes hang-out in fast-food restaurants like McDonald's and make fun of people like I am now. And you know something. Now that is not fun. Sometimes my wife, Pam, takes me to a fast-food place and forces me to walk inside for my exercise and well, you guessed it. There sits a "pack" of pre-teens and teens all bunched together poking fun at me and those of my age. I can hear their muffled laughing as we walk by. What I'd love to do is take my chocolate shake and empty the contents on their designer shirts and caps. But Pam, my saintly wife, stops me from doing this. "they are young like we once were," she explains without being asked. We eat. Chat. And finally my favorite part of the evening: Going home.
PICTURES OF A FEW OLD GUYS
Here are my views on what it's like to grow old
- My thinking is slower, but sometimes a lot sharper than when I was seventeen.
- My feet walk slower, but then again, I see more of the beauties of life around me.
- My voice isn't crisp anymore, but I only say what I need to say and not waste words.
- My ears cannot hear a fly walk on a wall across the room, but I can still hear the voices of my grandchildren say, "I love you, paw paw."
- My dreams are few at my current age for I don't dream that much. I concentrate on living.
- I don't crave the attention of a pretty woman. I just sit and admire how God made her.
- People around me only need me when they encounter something they can't fix.
There is a reason
why I only used photos of old guys in this story. I can only speak for myself in being an old man. I do not know, nor will I ever know, how it feels to be an old woman. Or should I say, "lady"?
I am not here jumping for joy that my youth is gone forever. What nut would do that? Would you tell me what man in his right mind would stand on his front porch and yell to the world, "heyyy, I am very old! I love not being able to work. I love the aches and pains in my broken-down, worn-out body!" If you know of one, let me know so I can contact him and ask what he is either drinking or smoking.
Fact is, no one actually "loves" to grow old. It's just the acceptance of this segement of our unsure lives that makes all the difference in the world. The longer "I" fought getting old, the harder it was. It dawned on me one fall evening last year as I was sitting in the sunshine in my front yard and a carload of pretty girls, I'd guess in their early 20's, came by my house in a convertible and then stopped. The car wasn't the only thing that stopped. My heart stopped for not knowing why these young beauties would stop in front of my house.
I made my way to the edge of my yard to see if they had car trouble. Thank God they didn't. (did you catch that? In my younger days, I would have prayed that their car would have broken down to allow me to talk to them.) The driver, a pretty girl with long, blond hair smiled and said, "can you tell me how far it is to Tupelo?" "Sure," I replied and proceeded to tell these lovely girls in (exact miles) how far it was to their destination. When I had finished, they all giggled that young girl giggle and the driver replied, "thank you, SIR!" and they left.
I stood there in that one spot for I know was fifteen minutes just letting that "sir" title sink in. Then it happened. I realized that with that "sir," I was then and old guy. Was I proud? No. Was I stunned with a new revelation? Yes. I thought that even with these physical diseases, I had a few good years of action left. But those lovely girls were like messengers of my loving Maker whom He sent to let me know that I was now entering my "twilight years."
HAPPINESS COMES IN NEW FORMS
MORE IMAGES OF OLD MEN'S LIVES
The Benefits of "My" Being an Old Man
I sleep longer and sounder because I really do not have anywhere to be. For 23 years I worked for a local newspaper. That meant being up by 7 a.m. five days a week and being at work by eight. And it meant that some day's, my job required me to work late. Sometimes until 3 a.m. Not anymore.
I do not have to finish anything anymore. At my age, my hope for finishing the project on some tomorrow is always evident. The only thing I "have" to finish are my meals.
I have nothing to prove to anyone anymore. My days of "chasing the brass ring" are over. I was never that agile on a carousel to begin with.
I get to sit back on the "sidelines of life" and watch the young people mess-up and laugh to myself, "I remember doing that."
Only my friends the same age as me, have memories that only we can understand. EXAMPLE: "Remember Jimi Hendrix?" We might ask a teenager in 2012. "Who? Was he a NBA star?" See what I mean?
To me now, attractive women are but walking masterpiece paintings. Not objects of passion as I once felt toward them. (This part of my life really hurts).
I do not drive a car anymore. My hands shake too much and I am afraid that I may wreck and hurt an innocent person. So I pester my wife to drive me to where I want to go.
I can say pretty much anything that's on my mind. And those around me, although they might be a bit put off, just sigh and say, "awww, he's an old guy. They are all like that."
Police officers are not worried about what my friends and I are up to. Their only concern is if I can remember my way home.
God and I are closer buddies now than when I was eighteen. I listen to Him more in my old age than I ever did. And I found out that things He says MAKES LOADS OF SENSE.
I appreciate things more. Such as HubPages. Who do not place unwanted pressure of me "having to write" a certain number of stories or be bumped from their website. (Simone, this was for you).
And finally . . .
When I pass from this arena of life, not that many people will know that I have left. I never did like crowds anyway.
THIS IS HOW "I" WANT TO LIVE OUT MY DAYS
More by this Author
(Just) talking about meddlers and busy bodies is not enough. It is time I did something about them.
All she did was score fame, fortune, and popularity with "Ode to Billy Joe," and what did it get her? Read this piece to find out.
I cannot hide my life any longer.