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Getting Old

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
I hate the word …old. As in …."You're getting OLD…"

I've never thought of myself as ever being old. I just thought I was ….lived in. When I look in the mirror, I see myself as I was years ago…..obviously I must be kidding myself, since I notice a couple of subtle changes which have started happening.

Women and young men hold the doors open for me as I go to the store. Secondly the sackers at the grocery look at me like I've lost my mind when I refuse to accept their help carrying my stuff out to my car. I'm getting a lot more…"Sir….are you sure?" questions in the past few years.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not on deaths doorstep….I still have my health and aside from needing to lose more weight and exercise more…don't we all? I'm still hanging in here….The only time someone has actually called me old was a few years ago in a bank parking lot when this doofus walked behind my truck as I was backing up to leave. He yelled at me and called me a blind old man. I might have punched his lights out, but he managed to get in his car and drive away before I could get my seat belt unbuckled and out of the truck to go after him. The fact that it took me several minutes to get out of my vehicle to catch him may have had something to do with his escaping my wrath. He should count himself lucky I wasn't able to catch him.

I've found that I enjoy naps more during the week, not just on Sunday afternoon. I read more and watch television less. I eat better foods and now I'm starting to buy things on sale at the store. Something I never did when I was younger. Last weekend I bought a pound of bacon and walked out with a loaf of bread, can of hot sauce, package of flour tortillas, enchilada sauce, package of sausage and some coffee creamer…all free just for buying the bacon. What a deal. I guess I could have been doing this all along, but was so busy working; I never stopped to sample the free stuff being given away when I went shopping. Now I can just snack away to my hearts content while buying what I need.

Now my old friends swap recipes and jokes with me everyday on the internet. We used to hang out in bars and drink everyday and tell jokes, but our livers gave out and our wives threatened to leave us so we changed our rowdy ways. I'd hate to think what my life would be like if I was single again. Perish the thought. The last time I was up past midnight is when some drunk dialed the wrong number to wish us a Happy New Year. No one our age stays up late on New Years Eve…everyone we know celebrates the change according to New York City time….I suppose we'll be looking at what time it is in London in a few more years. I guess old folks in London use China for their time to celebrate.

I also find that I don't dress up like I used to do. The only time I wear a suit and tie is when someone dies or we go to a wedding. I've noticed that we go to funerals more than weddings since most of our friends kids have already gotten married once and they don't seem to make a big deal out of it when they get married for the second time around. I read the obituaries more than I used to do. I realize that's kind of morbid, but I do it anyway. Every time I see a death notice on someone my age, I just say a silent prayer that it wasn't me or someone I know.

I notice that I listen more and talk less. This has become more noticeable to my family since they often ask if there is something wrong or is I feel alright. I feel fine, I just like to hear others talk and don't feel the need to dominate the conversations like I know I used to do when I was younger.

I cherish my friends and family more. It seems the older you get, the harder it is to make new friends. You have to start all over telling your life history and all of your little quirks and funny stories. Then you have to listen as someone else tells you about their lives. I don't mind this, but sometimes I get bored just listening to me answering questions about my life. After awhile you almost want to erase everything and start over……

But, I will say that all in all getting older isn't really all that bad….it beats the alternative of not doing so. As someone once told me…birthdays are good things to have.

I'll agree with that.
© Peary Perry
Letters From North America

May 22, 2007 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to www.pearyperry.com

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