I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.
Lately I have had a few opportunities to visit with longtime friends, well if the truth be known most were old friends, old like I am. The thing that pleased me most was how many have reported that they are happy with their current lifestyle. They feel like I feel that living in the slow lane with the creaky joints and more frequent visits to the doctors is not that bad. I can’t do somethings I use to but I probably did more of them than I needed to anyway, but I know get to meet people I never would have met in the past. Heck I even get to write to you almost every day.
As I thought about life as an old guy I remembered that my friend Ken sent me a piece many years ago that reminds me of him and others I know. Here is what he sent.
What is it like to be old?
The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.
Old age, I decided, is a gift. I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body- the cellulite, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, the jiggly thighs, and the sagging butt. . And often I am taken aback by the old lady who lives in my mirror, but I don’t agonize over those things for long. I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly.
As I’ve aged, I’ve become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need, but looks so avant garde on my patio. I am entitled to overeat, to be messy, to be extravagant.
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it if I choose to read until 4 am, and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50’s & 60ies,and if I at the same time wish to weep over a lost love, I will. I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging midriff, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the bikini set. They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten and I eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when a beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turn gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. I can say “no”, and mean it. I can say “yes”, and mean it.
As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong
Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.
A Mother’s Dictionary
AMNESIA: Condition that enables a woman who has gone through labor to make love again.
DUMBWAITER: One who asks if the kids would care to order dessert.
FAMILY PLANNING: The art of spacing your children the proper distance apart to keep you on the edge of financial disaster.
FEEDBACK: The inevitable result when your baby doesn’t appreciate the strained carrots.
FULL NAME: What you call your child when you’re mad at him.
GRANDPARENTS: The people who think your children are wonderful even though they’re sure you’re not raising them right.
HEARSAY: What toddlers do when anyone mutters a dirty word.
IMPREGNABLE: A woman whose memory of labor is still vivid.
INDEPENDENT: How we want our children to be as long as they do everything we say.
PUDDLE: A small body of water that draws other small bodies wearing dry clothes into it.
SHOW OFF: A child who is more talented than yours.
STERILIZE: What you do to your first baby’s pacifier by boiling it and to your last baby’s pacifier by blowing on it.
TWO MINUTE WARNING: When the baby’s face turns red and she begins to make those familiar grunting noises.
WHODUNIT: None of the kids that live in your house..
Did you know that the biggest sellers in the bookstores are cookbooks.
The second biggest seller is diet books about how not to eat what you’ve just learned how to cook.
Hey, I like engineers, I use to work with them, so take the following with a grain of salt. Ray
Q: What is the definition of an engineer? A: Someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had, in a way you don’t understand.
Q: How can you tell an extroverted engineer? A: When he talks to you, he looks at your shoes instead of his own.
Q: How do you drive an engineer completely insane? A: Tie him to a chair, stand in front of him, and fold up a road map the wrong way.
Why is it so important for the groom at a Jewish wedding to stomp on a wine glass?
Because it’s the last time he’ll put his foot down.
I don’t think I’ll ever have a mother’s intuition. My married sister, Anne, her twelve month old son, Timmy, and I were having lunch together in a restaurant one day. All of a sudden my sister gets up and announces she needs to excuse herself from the table to make a telephone call and would I please keep an eye on Timmy.
I said, “What do I do if he cries?”
She said, “Give him some vegetables.”
It turns out that jalapenos are not his favorite.
She said: I have the most marvelous recipe for meat loaf! All I have to do is mention it to my husband and he says, “Let’s eat out!”
The complete life, the perfect pattern, includes old age as well as youth and maturity. The beauty of the morning and the radiance of noon are good, but it would be a very silly person who drew the curtains and turned on the light in order to shut out the tranquility of the evening. Old age has its pleasures, which, though different, are not less than the pleasures of youth.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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