Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Patrick Flynn and Ronald Tipton, 2016.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Saturday, September 28, 2013

On to That Final 20%.

I see we are not calling them Senior Centers anymore. Some are retitled "Center for Balanced Living."I don't know what that means? What is it? A retirement community for Wallendas? Some state is renaming every one "Active Adult Center". That sounds too much like a gym to me. If I walk in the door will somebody yell, "Give me ten!"What if I don't feel like being all that active?

Why can't we ever call anything what it is? I guess people can't face the truth. I'd be happy with Senescent Center, where the Geezers and Biddies play to they drop...dead.

Frankly I'm fine with being a senior citizen. By gum (old geezer slang word), I earned it. I will not be robbed of my right to be old. And don't give me that mishmash of 70 is the new 60 or 50 or perhaps they're calling it the new 20 by now. Seventy might be on the cusp, but 72 old, man.

They have this thing called life expectancy and it says for us dudes it is 76-77 years. That puts me four or five years away, so if I ain't old now I never will be. This life expectancy thing is a bit suspect to me. Some agency puts out list by countries and the United States ranks 51 on those lists. I think its just political. Got to watch anything put out there may be some manipulation for political reasons. Like they are back on this Global Warming kick again at the United nations, even though there hasn't been any increased warming for 17 years. they dismiss this as a "pause". If it's been seventeen years, i call it a trend.

But never mind, we're talking about life expectancy and those world types say 76-77 for us fellows. Yet, if I go to the Social Security Agency I am told I can expect to live another 13 years, which would make me 85. Furthermore, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) says I got 19 more years to go, which gets me to 91.

No matter how you cut it or who you believe, 72 makes me an old man, maybe on the young side of old age, but old nonetheless.  One way I figure is this. That 91 sounds like a reasonable number to me. Most my family lived up close to that. My mother died at 92 and my father at 94, so I got pretty good genes in the aging game. So if we round off at 90 and divide by 5 we get a pretty good breakdown of a life's divisions: childhood, young adult, career years, middle age into retirement and old age.

I worked until I was 70 and then full retirement kind of happened. That was a couple years ago so I'm now in stage 5, - old age.  I have arrived in my 73rd year and essentially the last 20% of my life.

(By the way, remember, when you celebrate your 72nd birthday it means you have finished up 72 years. The day after you birthday you are working through your 73rd years.)

This is not a complaint about being old. If there is any complaint it is about those who deny it, won't accept it, lie about it, flee from it or fear it. Get over it. Everybody gets old unless they die young, so celebrate and embrace it, you have survived.

I will tell you I don't feel much different in my brain. My mind's image of myself is basically the same as ever, so I guess your subconscious does lie. In my head I look like I'm maybe 25. I don't see an old man when I look on the mirror either, so mirrors must practice deception, too. I see a man with a white beard and bald pate, but he doesn't look grizzled and worn to me. Ah, but when I see photographs of me, then I wonder who is that old man and why do I have a picture of him?

It's my body that really let's me know I'm old. It sneaks up on you and you don't always realize what
the body is saying, but gradually you get the message. For example, I'm a walker. I have walked places all my life, often for just the pleasure of the walk. My friend, Ronald Tipton, and I used to walk up and about the hills around Downingtown as children and that exploring by foot has remained a lifelong habit for both of us. When I worked, I would walk away my lunch hours and take a long walk in the evening after I got home. And these days I go every morning to one of our local parks and traipse away four or five miles of varied terrain, up hill and down.

But then I was passing everyone who appeared before me and if walking with companions would need slow or stop occasionally to allow them to keep up. Now I notice everyone is passing me. I feel I am stepping out at a good pace, my same old pace, but apparently not. I also know I am walking the same distance in more time.

Ignoring some recent health issues, such as my half-paralyzed right hand, the two main fingers stiffened
by arthritis, there is another obvious indicator that I have moved into old age. Strength. I was never an Arnold Scwartznegger, but I had some amount of strength. I us to lift weights to keep toned and I could press 120 pounds straight over my head and I did arm curls with 35 pound dumbbells. Now I struggle to carry a forty pound bag of kitty litter into the house.

Don't take this little missive as morbid. It isn't focusing on death. Death isn't just around the corner. Remember, the CDC says I have 19 more years...at least. No, I am just being realistic and admitting that in many ways I am pass it. I'm content with that. I'm happy with that. Much of the fuss and feathers of life are over. I look forward to a simpler, perhaps more placid remaining 20% of it.

Also my big hope is I will return to regular entries in what have been becoming my long neglected blogs.