Talking Points: Coming to grips with the back side of life
It took me until age 51 to come to grips with being in my 50s. It's not like I have some big hang up with age, it's just that when you finally hit the half-century mark, you don't feel as ancient as you thought you would when you were 20s.
Your time washes over you: Your grandma doesn't get her knee replaced, your sister does. That other "little sister" you used to pick on 'cause she was a twerp kid is 46. You're almost as old as your grandpa was when he died.
I have newfound sympathy for my Depression-era father. Back in the '80s, he took one look at the 1,200 buttons on the "clicker" for his new TV and didn't even try. He had red dots painted on the only buttons he needed: On, Off, Channel, Volume. Surrender is OK: Getting old means never having to say, "How do I download the Spotify app to my Android?"
What qualifies as a hard day's work changes. Once I landscaped my house with a wheelbarrow and a shovel. Today, I wouldn't do it without several pieces of equipment made by Cat. Today, hooking up the cables and jump-starting a car is reason enough to hit the beer 'frig and the couch.
You realize that your 12-year-old looks at you in the same way you are astonished by Hugh Hefner: How is it that that thing still draws breath? You mention something to the boy about Plato and he asks, "I'll check out his blog."
Here are other signs that that you are on the back side of life:
Experimenting with drugs doesn't mean what it used to: Now, it's, "I wonder what two Prilosec will do to me?"
You no longer watch college basketball players and think, "I could do that." You can't even stay awake long enough to watch that.
Monty Python's Flying Circus is something that both your kids and parents will never understand, so you've got that little treasure all to yourself.
You now know what it's like to watch your clothing styles go out, in, out, back in and back out. Your leisure suit is now being used as insulation in a "green" home.
When you're on hold on the telephone, you hear music you once hated because it was "that new crap."
Paris Hilton was a building, and the foxy young babes of your youth now co-star on shows with Betty White.
You still refer to hot women as "foxy."
By the time you say to your kids, "I remember back when I was your age... " you've forgotten what it was you were going to tell them.
You wear a watch. Dial tones make you nostalgic.
The phrase "Respect your elders" is now "Respect me, you varmit!"
Even your moles are going bald, and you wonder when it happened that your little toes don't have nails anymore. Meanwhile, Locks of Love just called dibs on your eyebrows and nose hair.
Blotches on your skin don't worry you. When you're young, it's cancer - you just know it. Now, you're just happy that you have enough circulation to grow anything new anywhere. You have so many liver spots kids think you got a sleeve tattoo.
You need three days to figure out how a new car works before you dare actually turn it on and drive it. And why don't the damn things have keys anymore?!
The long underwear goes on in October and doesn't come off 'til May. You don't even pack them away with the winter clothes anymore because there could always be a cold-snap in July.
You don't go upstairs in your house very often anymore. Unless the roof starts on fire, there isn't anything going on up there that's really worth that much effort. So there's a teen pregnancy or two. Grandma will handle it.
Anyone else notice that Rachel Welch still looks pretty foxy?