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Front Page » January 22, 2002 » Opinion » Aging not good, not bad, it's just there
Published 4,713 days ago

Aging not good, not bad, it's just there


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By RICHARD SHAW
Staff reporter

Getting older certainly has it's trials and tribulations, but there are some very good points to it as well.

A couple of weeks ago I met the half century mark head on and my co-workers here at the paper were fairly gracious about my turning the ripe old age of 50.

But despite the harassment I received that day, there were a lot of good things about getting almost to the age where the AARP will start sending me membership applications.

First of all on the night of my birthday I had the best party and got the most presents I have received for my special day since I was 10 years old.

Makes me anxious for my 60th anniversary on this planet. Based on the mathematical progression of presents in proportion to age and time I should get a Maserati for that birthday in 2012.

Next, my kids now know that I am now truly an adult and they can't claim my moods are because of my "middle age crisis" anymore. I'm past middle age so I can just be an ornery old man now. I don't need an excuse.

When I turned 40 my oldest son, who was 15 at the time told me that he never wanted to be 40; it was way too old. I told him at the time that unfortunately, because he was born, he had only two choices at that point and being 40 was considerably better than the alternative.

Now at 25, I think his viewpoint has changed; especially when he saw all the good stuff I got for my half century celebration.

Anther good thing about being 50 is that people often can't guess your age. When I was 19 and going to college one of my professors thought I was in my 30's. Just a couple of months ago I was having an informal conversation with a group of men concerning a county project and for some reason we got on the subject of age and they started to guess how old each other were.

I found out they were all older than I was except one, and he was appalled when he found out I was almost 50. He told me I looked too darn young to be that age.

Sometimes things like that happen to me. For instance, my oldest son and I were walking out of Sam's Club in Provo last year and the lady who checks the receipts at the door said to us, "It's nice to see two brothers shopping together like this."

I thought it was great; my son who gets closer to the dreaded 40 age every day wasn't too amused.

But there are some real down sides to this whole thing of being past a half century old too.

It used to be even the parents of the youngest of co-workers I toiled with at any job were always older than me. Not anymore. Now I am older than many of them.

When I start talking about rock music to my kids and mention Strawberry Alarm Clock, Cream or Three Dog Night they think I am talking about an antique collectible timepiece, something I use on my wifes beloved chocolate pie or how many animals they must sleep with when they stay at my house overnight.

I also find I don't understand some things that probably would have been perfectly clear only a few years ago.

Like why my youngest son needs a $30 expansion pack to play a $75 video game on the $300 dollar machine we just bought that was supposed to be state-of-the-art.

Like how the set of custom wheels that I want for my Jeep can cost more than the Jeep is worth considering when I was in high school (you know when we had one room schoolhouses) I could buy a set for less than a good car stereo costs you now.

Like how I now own older vehicles than I did any time in my life between the age of 16 and 40, and with the prices on the new ones the way they are, I have no prospect of those machines getting newer, only older.

Like how now I couldn't live without my cell phone, yet 10 years ago I couldn't see why anyone would ever need one.

Like how all the women I used to admire in the Victoria's Secret catalogue now remind me of my daughter so I don't look anymore.

Like how going camping in my camper is so much work that I don't want to go to the trouble whereas years ago I couldn't wait to go out in the tent and sleep on the rocks.

Like how I used to buy Certs in the little rolls at Circle K for my breath and now I buy Rolaids instead and I intimately know all the flavors available.

I guess the worst thing about being older is that there is little that is forbidden anymore. I mean forbidden in the sense that you can do it and not go to jail or hell.

Most of us remember when we were kids and we stole apples off the neighbors tree or a watermelon out of their garden. That fruit always tasted so good; better than if it had come out of our own garden.

And then there was when I was a teenager. Forbidden stuff was so good, like the cold case of beer a friend of mine took out of his dad's camper fridge one day and we all drank sitting in the sun on the south side of his house.

Now forbidden is when I start to tell my kids about my sex life and they all start dancing around with their hands over their ears saying they don't want to hear it. Too much information I suppose.

I guess I could always go skulk around behind one of the drug stores in town and when the Geritol truck shows up and the route driver unloads his cases of product to be rolled in the back door of the establishment, I could grab one and run, then guzzle it in some shaded alley.

Nope. That wouldn't work either. My knees are too bad to run anymore.


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January 22, 2002
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