I’m old. How often does someone say that, someone who is not doddering? Look it up you damned whippersnapper! Doddering. I’ll go jog a tenth of a mile to the mailbox and back and you learn a new word. I can run, and I can probably out-sprint you and fill you full of excuses. That’s the problem with young and middle-aged people these days, they make excuses for not being what they think they should be. Once you label yourself old the pressure is off. All the pressure is off. You should try it.
How do I figure I’m old at age 55? Let’s look at a couple plain facts and do some simple math.
It is not unreasonable to hope to live to be 75.
Everyone agrees that living to age 90 is pretty damned good.
If we look at life as being in three stages we have youth, middle age, and old age. By our figures above we can divide life up into three even parts.
The shorter lifespan divides at 25 and 50. The longer span divides at 30 and 60.
Using simple arithmetic, youth and all its foolishness lasts from birth to age 27 1/2. A man’s car insurance, if he is a decent driver, should drop at age 25 and I have always referred to 25 as the minimal age of reason for a male. Minimal as many never reach reason ever.
The other dividing line averages to 55, where I am now. During middle age, from 27 1/2 to 55, one should be established and be busy building a strong foundation. Before, you have been inexperienced and foolish and now you are expected to have a level head on your shoulders and become who you are meant to be.
And now here I am at the beginning of old age. I am the age I am. According to most restaurants I am now eligible to use the senior menu; smaller portion for a smaller price, I’m not impressed. Still there are benefits to being “old.”
I am not expected to accomplish great things anymore. I am allowed to accomplish all I care to, but there is not that pressure to make something of myself. Is it not enough that I am able to retire at this young old-age? Most important of all, I no longer feel the need to pressure myself.
I can write a book. I can not write a book. No one pushes either way. I can push myself and I can back off again at my leisure.
“My leisure!” I tried to get Siri on my iPhone to refer to me as “My Liege”. Either I can’t emphasize the correct syllable or the damned thing is incapable of getting the word “liege” right in any context, so whenever my phone speaks directly to me she now says, “My Leisure.” I have come to take that as fitting, being retired and all. It is time for my ego to take a back seat to my well-earned sense of assured competence.
Being old, I may now consider myself wise. I am a teacher because I enjoy maintaining a small handful of students and they enjoy me. There are times when I see someone in trouble and I deftly give them a hand up. Such power and expertise comes from a lifetime of experience and accomplishment.
As this year progresses I will be helping establish two households, one is an injured-but-capable army vet, and the other an abused mother of three. I am imposing myself in an effort to right two wrongs in life. Why? Because I can and it is the right thing to do.
I have put in the time. I have learned from experience. And now, I do as I will.