I’ve always wondered one thing continuously throughout my life. When will I consider myself old? When I was in my teens, 30 seemed old. Yet when I got there, I didn’t feel old. I didn’t see myself as an older person when I looked in the mirror. As 50 approaches, I still don’t see myself that way. I’m not one of those guys still holding onto 17 and living in 1994 by no means. To myself, it seems that I have defied growing old. Maybe it’s due to the fact my baby boomer parents didn’t grow old gracefully. There was a lot of partying and drug use in their younger years that wore them out early on. I think they kept the partying going well into their 30’s keeping it hidden from the kids, now that I look back on some things from an adult’s perspective.
Is It My Perception?
I often wonder if it’s due to my state of mind. I look at the milestones I’ve hit in life as not marking my age or period of existence but more as a season. I’m old enough to be a grandparent, but even if I were to become one right now, I still don’t think that would make me perceive myself as old. Maybe a bit more hardened, but not old. Being I live in such a small town, the town that I grew up in. I still see a few folks I graduated high school with from time to time. And between you and I, some of them — we’ll just say that some of theirs seasons had to be some long cold winters. But they act the part also. They carry themselves as elders of the community now. Let’s take the sheriff in this county, for instance. He looks like a wise elder of the community. I remember him in high school. He was a bit of an awkward guy back then, but everybody knew that one day he’d be sheriff of this county. We all just knew. I’ve watched him give press conferences of the local news channel, and he acts the part of an elder in the community. I guess that where his state of mind has always been.
Going Through Changes
I don’t see myself as old, but I have grown as a person. As I said, I’m not holding onto 1994. Back then, I sat around smoking a heap of pot while listening to Nirvana. I take care of myself. I don’t smoke or drink anymore. I find various things to stimulate my mind to continue learning. I’m aware my values have evolved. I’m a lot less conservative than I was before I struck out and experienced the world. Way more understanding and compassionate about people’s circumstances than I used to be. I see that as seasoned though not the typical old fellow being pissed about kids in the neighborhood.
Maybe It’s The Gen Xer in Me?
You know they say Gen Xers don’t see themselves as growing old. We’re seen as the nomad generation. If you broke it down into Star Wars terms, you know who we’d be? Han Solo and Chewbacca, a couple of space cowboys, smuggling stuff all over the galaxy. Han Solo and Chewy never got old. Even in The Last Jedi, the duo didn’t look old. Could I be in denial, though? I know my son sees me as a crazy old dude who’ll repel from 70ft bridges and go SCUBA diving. He’s asked me a few times if I’m having a mid-life crisis. I don’t see it like that. I’ve just gotten to the point in life where I’ve accomplished so much. I can now take time to do the things I’ve been putting off.
The Seasons of Life
So, this evening I’m still sitting here contemplating the seasons of my life. I’m older, but not old. I’ll call it wise. I’ve screwed up enough to have learned how far to go before too far gets there. I still wonder when I will officially become an old man. Maybe when I join the guys I see sitting in McDonald’s in the morning when I drive past, on my way to work? The thing is, here lately, I’ve been looking forward to joining that crowd. I guess I’ll just keep kicking old age further down the road. Sooner or later, it’ll catch up to me.