On Aging

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A thousand years old: by Rod Waddington (CC BY-SA 2.0)

I’ll give you a one-word summary of my philosophy on aging.

It blows.

That’s two words. So sue me.

I’m old. Not old as in the Bible, but old enough to think of the ’90s as the “good ol’ days.”

In the ’90s I was in high school. And then in college. That’s pretty much what that decade was about for me. School. Semesters, to be more precise. My time was divided into semesters, two per year, with maybe some part time work during the summer.

Once, I spent most of one summer driving my brother to drivers ed and watching “Wings.”

In the fall, it was back to school. Long sleeves, old backpack, new–expensive–textbooks.

That was a long time ago. Most people on WordPress probably don’t remember “Wings.” Never even heard of it, most likely.

So what am I up to now? I’m pushing 40, is what I’m up to. Giving it a real good push, from real close. I’m breathing down its neck, you could say. I’m almost there, close enough to touch it. But not yet. I got some time, and 40 is the new 30. Some years ago 30 was the new 20.

It’s not a big deal. The number itself is not a big deal. It’s just a number. Who cares what it is, it’s just two digits (three, if you’re Kirk Douglas). Your credit card number is much longer. So’s your phone number, your ATM pin, the mileage on your car. That’s a comforting thought.

I don’t get people who freak out about it. But we live in an age-obsessed world, where image is everything, where everyone wants to be younger because being older is just nasty. Like having toenail fungus, or really hairy eyebrows.

I don’t care about the number. Aging doesn’t blow because of the number. It blows because it creeps up on you when you’re looking the other way. Actually, it creeps up on you even if you’re staring it squarely in the face.

It comes up on you from the side, or from the behind, or from up front, but it comes up like a thief–on its toes, like in cartoons. And then suddenly, you’ve got allergies, and deep lines around your mouth, and intolerance to onions, and clicking knees, and a few extra pounds taking permanent residence where nobody should be living.

Some people make it work. Some embrace it. Some say they love it (but nobody does). Some get every treatment under the sun, hoping everyone around will be fooled.

I’m not doing anything about it. But I am going to keep running after 40 until I catch it.

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