Old age comes at an inconvenient time.

I saw a t-shirt in a catalog that said, “Old age comes at an inconvenient time.” 

Hmmm….not sure about that.  It is true that just about the time you really start to understand yourself and life you get slower and creakier (and yes, I did make up that word – but that is okay as everyone over 40 knows exactly what I mean by it).  It is a cruel irony really.  If only all the benefits of getting older came first.  If only you were wise when you were young or most physically fit and able when you were old…if only we had all the right things at the right time.

George Carlin addressed this topic once upon a time (in his George Carlin-esque way):

“The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating…and you finish off as an orgasm.”

I don’t know that I agree fully with George, but I do wish my wisdom had come earlier in my life and that my level of energy and physical ruggedness had endured far past my younger years.  Alas, such are the makings of life…when we are young and full of vigor we are learning about ourselves and the world; and, when we are older we are coming to appreciate the things we have learned and realizing that time has passed much more quickly than we could have ever conceived at age 15. 

I surmise that there is some poetry in aging though…a different kind of vigor and vitality that sits within one as experiences build confidence, long term relationships mature, and an understanding of what really matters becomes cemented.  Perhaps we should be looking at this differently – perhaps it is the youthful that should envy those who are pushing into the second half of their lives. 

Also, is old age a function of age or mindset?  And does it vary from person to person?  Tis’ true that there are some folks that never grow up even though they may grow quite old; while there are others who are still seemingly young in age, but whose mindset is decidedly aged.  Is this all part of the necessary dialogue buried in the statement on the t-shirt?

I have long said that I am old enough to know better, but still young enough to get into plenty of mischief…that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it! Do you suppose I should get a t-shirt that says as much? ;-)

Day eight hundred and sixty-six of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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About Ms. C

I teach at NDSU...but I remain a student of life with all the enthusiasm that entails. My favorite saying is, "Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down." In the new forty that is what I am doing...building my wings.
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