I turn half a century today! Many people believe 50 is the age where we can consider ourselves on the ‘old’ side (at least that’s what many people younger than us may think). Mark Twain believed that we shouldn’t worry too much about growing old. Twain’s routine in the morning was to get up, look at the obituaries and if he wasn’t there, he would carry on as usual. My routine has changed over the years. Getting older takes its toll on the body. Not all your body parts are as co-operative as they used to be. ‘Getting a little action’, now means I don’t need to take any fibre today, and an ‘all nighter’ means not getting up to pee. You know you’re getting older when your wife says, ‘lets go upstairs and make love’ and you say ‘pick one, I can’t do both’. Your physical body isn’t the only part to take a toll; your mind isn’t as sharp either as they say three things begin to go when you get older; first, your memory goes, and I can’t remember the other two.
Getting older has its upside as well. As we age, we become wiser. We have gathered knowledge and experience and turned it into wisdom and understanding. We always think of older people slowing down as a negative aspect, but in fact, it is positive. Older people are slower to respond not necessarily because their faculties have been dulled, but because they’ve learned that a quick response sometimes gets us into hot water. They’re still playing with a full deck, they just take a bit longer to shuffle.
When I got up from bed on my 50th birthday today, I was determined to keep a fresh outlook on things, given the milestone day I faced. As I came down the stairs in the morning someone asked me, ‘how do you feel?’ I said ‘like a newborn baby! No teeth, no hair and I wet myself in the night”. Not really, I still don’t have a grey hair on my thinning head, I have at least 30 of my teeth still, and am I Incontinent? Well that DEPENDS. I still try to be young at heart, but it is difficult sometimes when you’re around your kids as our generations are so disparate. Taking them through an antique store with and you saying, ‘I remember these”, doesn’t help. Sometimes you feel like you were born on a different planet than them as they have never experienced life without cable or a remote control, making popcorn anywhere other than a microwave, using a bottle opener instead of having twist off pop bottles.
I’ve learned a lot in my half-century and will keep learning; just today on my 50th I learned that at 20 years old I worried what others thought of me. At 35, I didn’t care what they thought of me. Now today at 50, I’ve discovered they hadn’t been thinking of me at all. It’s important that when we get older, that we not lose the desire to keep learning; when we sit back and are content to just reminisce about the good old days, then that is a sign of old age. As well, we can’t regret growing old as it is a privilege that many people do not experience.
"Young" Mike with much older sister Pat
"Old" Mike (Granddad) with Leah