I’ve had a few people tell me lately that I don’t look 50. I tend to agree with them! I don’t think I’m 50 regardless of what the birth certificate says! I don’t think it’s just how I look that confuses people about my age. It’s my attitude that confuses them. I see myself in the mirror and I see some gray hair (not much, but enough) and I see some wrinkles. I see a body that really should not go out and run shirtless! I hate to shave, but I can’t see myself with gray in my beard! My knees crack and pop every time I stand up. But 50?!? I don’t think so!
First, there’s the music thing. I can’t stand listening to 92.5 The Fox because they play the music of my teen/young adult years. I heard those songs then, I liked a lot of them then, but I do NOT want to hear them now! I listened to every Van Halen album until they fired David Lee Roth. I listened to the albums so often, I knew what song was coming next before the current song was over. I listened to Rush and felt like I was part of an exclusive club not understood by the masses. I listened to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, Aerosmith before the drugs. I even had some fun listening to George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic (take that, spell check!!). Today, when those classics come on the radio, I will nearly crash my car to change the station! God help me if it’s a song I didn’t like 30 years ago because I will drive my car off a bridge just to make it stop! The Hell I imagine is, you’re just hanging out with nothing to do and Satan is in control of the music. He will play just enough of a song you hate to make you sing it over an over again in your head. Heaven wouldn’t be any better – they don’t have “devil’s music” up there!
So, what does this have to do with my age? I just left a meeting for volunteers of this year’s Midpoint Music Festival. It’s a three night event downtown that showcases undiscovered talent. They always have one or two “name” acts, but 99% of the acts are unknown to you before seeing them. I thrive on that type of musical discovery! When I listen to music that gives me goose bumps, I feel like I’m 17 again. I have music in my collection that my kids haven’t heard of!
Second, there’s the running thing. I take pride in knowing that I run faster (and longer) than people half my age. Tonight, I was driving through a neighborhood and I saw someone running slowly. I wanted to make fun of them but then I saw that it was a gray haired old dude running. Then, I was saying “you go, old man!” Of course that made me think of me at 60 years old running my 21st marathon in 10 years! I will have run three marathons this year, so if I run two per year until the end of my 59th year, I will have run 21 marathons during the decade of my 50s. Now, by the time I’m 60 I may be slower and actually have to walk more than my ego would like, but I’ll still do it. I imagine my older self taunting the young whippersnappers as they nervously approach their first marathon, “How are you going to feel when I pass you, punk!?!”
Finally, there’s the sex thing. With respect to my sons who may be reading this, I’ll keep this one private. No one wants to hear about old people having sex! That’s just gross!!
My Dad and my oldest brother died in their mid 50s. I plan to make it well into my 80s. As long as I’m alive, I want to be re-defining old age for my children and grandchildren. 50 is the new 30! Now, someone help me get out of this chair. My bones are tired!