They say there are advantages of growing old. I'm still looking for them.
Old age is something that just happens. Without enough advance warning, we look in the mirror one day and there he is — my father. Some of you are old enough to know what I mean. Those who are not — take note, your day is coming.
I failed to discern the warning signs of approaching old age. I should have taken note of the thinning hair and the increased smile (and frown) lines on my face. I suppose I should have also been aware that a haircut had begun to include trimming the eyebrows and ears. But somehow I missed all of that and I awoke one morning with the stark realization that I had grown old!
Today, I tell folks that I am glad that I am old. This is sometimes greeted with a puzzled look until they realize that it is far better than the alternative. I suppose birth is the first step in what we hope will be a long journey toward death. Aging is a normal progression but I plan to make the best of it.
I cannot ignore, however, that life changes. My wife and I have spent a lifetime of accumulating. But, now is the age of letting go of things and enjoying the spiritual blessings of age. It's time to leave behind materialism and downsize! First comes the shedding of material baggage that no longer holds any meaning. Although I believe in the Hereafter, I also believe in the Here and Now. I must get ready for the Hereafter, but I plan to enjoy the present — just in a different way.
For instance, I can look at other folks in a more realistic manner. I no longer consider how a friendship might help or harm me. I can just enjoy my fellow human beings.
Sigmund Freud had it only partially right when he proclaimed that all of human life revolves around sex. During Dr. Fraud's heyday in the late 1800s and early 1900s, folks didn't live as long as they do today and he probably didn't have any old patients to judge by. It figures.
In old age, young good-looking women are no longer sex symbols but become images of granddaughters to be protected from the lecherous eyes of others. In fact, I find young women friendlier now because they are aware that I have moved far past the dirty-old-man stage. Actually, most of us don't ever go through this stage (DOM) of life anyway.
I have also found that walking canes (mine) and walkers (my wife's) demand significant attention in public. Other folks are kind enough to hold doors open and give us leeway as we try to live a normal existence. It's nice but a little embarrassing sometimes — especially when a woman only a few years younger than I, drops down to tie my loose shoestrings in the grocery store.
I try to return the courtesy and whenever I am in a checkout line with a full shopping cart and the person or persons behind me have just an item or two, I will always allow them to go ahead of me. After all, the only things on my schedule are doctor's appointments and physical therapy dates and shoppers behind me more than likely have jobs to get back to. Often I will say to the laden shopper behind me that it is likely that they are helping pay for my Social Security monthly stipend and it's only fair that I make way for them. This is sometimes met with mixed reactions but it's more likely true than not.
Oh, I sometimes grumble about the inconveniences of old age but I am, nevertheless, thankful for life and its blessings. I plan to enjoy it to its fullest even though there are more years behind me than in front. It sometimes seems that life is like looking through the rear-view mirror but I plan to enjoy the views — whatever they might be.
The automobile manufacturers have spent millions of dollars and a century of design to make cars quieter. But in traditional bureaucratic rationale, the National Highway Safety Administration now wants automobiles to make more noise!
It seems that in the federal government's view, electric and hybrid cars are so quiet that they are a hazard to the public. They want the manufacturers to install noise makers in cars in order that pedestrians and cyclists can hear them coming. Of course that will also add hundreds of dollars to the cost of a vehicle that the consumer must pay.
Perhaps the car makers can put a stiff piece of cardboard in the spokes of the wheels like we did as kids to make our bicycles sound motorized. Or perhaps add outside speakers for digital voices to warn folks like those speakers in GPS devices available to navigate our cars. Perhaps even a choice of voices to choose from. I like the Mr. T one that will say things like, “Git out of the way, Fool,” etc.
Leave it to the federal government to regulate everything in our lives!
John Brock is a retired newspaper editor/publisher and college professor. He can be reached by mail at this newspaper or by Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.
Notice about comments:
- Most Viewed
- Sampit shooting leads to attempted murder charges
- Local authorities find kidnapping, robbery suspect in trash can
- Police Blotter: 10-year-old accused of sexual assault
- Andrews football coach resigns
- Robbery at PI Bakery (Updated)
- Police Blotter: Teacher attacked by 7 year old
- Hilliard: Police have no evidence in The Krazy Fish case
- Georgetown police name robbery suspect
- POLICE BLOTTER: Disturbing discovery
- Three robberies, same MO, in three days