When I was a young guy (a period that lasted until quite recently), I’d look at old people and see them as just that: “old people.” They were these dilapidated bodies to briskly pass by with my grocery cart or wait for impatiently as they made their way across an intersection. But suddenly, I’m finding I can’t walk very fast myself. And at Costco and Walgreens, shopping carts go zipping around me all the time.
The bomb of reality finally hit this morning. A young waitress at my favorite breakfast spot asked, “Honey, do you want a warm-up on your coffee?” That “honey” sealed the deal. I must look like…well…like one of those old folks.
In the grand scheme of things, someone’s “age” is just where you happen to bump into them in their life cycle. The young kid who played hooky from grade school to go fishing is the same person, decades later, who’s stuck with all those wrinkles and limps and hairs in his ears.
Come on, Don, get to your point. You’re rambling on like an old geezer.
Okay, my point is this: life moves along just as it should. A first kiss brings on a wondrous awakening. The joy and responsibility of being a new parent is awe-inspiring. A job that becomes a passionate career brings an amazing sense of achievement and purpose. Each life moves along with its own share of bruises and triumphs, and it is our job to grab or let go the opportunities offered at each stage.
Regardless of what insurance salespeople try to tell me, I’m a believer in living in the action, joy and drama of today. How sad it would be for younger generations to sweat over their future fragile bodies, or for me to begrudge the pleasures that await today’s youth. I cannot go back to earlier times. I have already spent them, sometimes foolishly, sometimes wisely.
It was a humbling jolt to be officially christened as “honey old” by my waitress, but I guess that title has its own kind of earned sweetness.