Ah, the magic of aging. It turns a snarky seventeen year old into an ornery octogenarian in no time at all. At least, that’s the way it seems.
Even through it was forty plus years ago, I remember being a teenager like it was yesterday. My parents were nearly middle aged when they had me. Consequently, Dad was in his mid-fifties when I was in high school.
When he would stand up from a chair and groan, I would laugh myself silly. Yes, “the old man sound” was a real knee-slapper. About thirty-five years later, I didn’t find it very funny…but my kids did.
And that’s the way it goes. If you believe in a God who watches over us, you also have to believe that He or She has one hell of a sense of humor. Denial is baked into our DNA. When you’re a kid, it’s easy to laugh at adult’s discomforts. That’s because you are positive that aches and pains, along with gray hair and a flabby gut are never going to happen to you. No way, no how.
If only young men thought this way, it would be understandable. The latest research shows that the male brain doesn’t mature until age 25. Army recruiters target recent male high school graduates for a good reason. Their bodies are strong and the minds are weak. At that age, with the proper training, the recruits will follow orders. As men get older and actually begin to think, training becomes much more difficult. If you don’t believe me, ask any wife with a middle-aged hubby.
Although women are usually smarter and certainly more cunning than their male counterparts, that doesn’t stop them from thinking that they will stay forever young. Young ladies are positive they’ll always be able to eat anything they want without gaining an ounce, get a good night’s sleep and wear a bikini without embarrassment. And above all, they will never, ever, end up looking like their mother. No way, no how.
The funny thing is that we believe this nonsense even in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary. Let’s take Harrison Ford as an example. In the 1977 classic,, how does he look? Smarmy and good looking. Fast forward to last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and what do we find? A craggy and decrepit Ford with more wrinkles than your average raisin. And that’s after the Hollywood makeup wizards worked him over for several hours. Imagine what he looks like in real life.
There’s no real harm in believing the sweet bird of youth will always be with you. Sooner or later, it will fly the coop. You might shed a tear but you’ll get over it. Gray hair or no hair, life goes on.
Believing that you can turn back the hands of time, well, that’s a real problem. People with more money than sense return to the plastic surgeon again and again. And they still don’t look twenty-five. Some barely look human after it’s all said and done.
In the end, it’s not important if you look young or not. However, it is important to live long enough to see your children make it to middle age and beyond.
Picture this. You’re visiting your son and his family. You watch him get up slowly from a chair. He moans.
“Hey, is that the old man sound I hear coming from you, son? What’s the matter?”
He tells you. Bad back, knee pain, sore ankle. It really doesn’t matter what he says.
You flash a toothy grin. “Gee, that’s too bad. I never heard of anything like that happening to anybody.”
Revenge is a dish best served old.
Here are a few great quotes that put the magic of aging in perspective.
”At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At age 40, we don’t care what they think of us. At age 60, we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all.” Ann Landers.
“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature. Beautiful old people are works of art.” Eleanor Roosevelt.
“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.” Mark Twain.
And my personal favorite…
“Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance.” David Mamet.