Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thoughts of an Elderly Man

The average life expectancy for men in America right now is 75 years. [Minneapolis StarTribune, 15 May 2012: Website targets ‘tween’ seniors.]
by Charlie Leck

If I’m average – and I am desperately average in almost every way – that gives me about three or four more years – 3 or 4 more years of life! Oh, my!

Do old men, growing older, think about these things? Or is it just me? I’m not ill; yet I’m not particularly healthy. My bones ache – and, sometimes, quite horribly. These aches prevent me from exercising as much as I’d like to; though I think I exercise more than the average fellow. I often wonder about my heart and the work it has to do. Is it a healthy heart? I don’t know. I should have a careful, thorough heart exam, but I just can’t get it organized (or I’m afraid to organize it). I carry too much weight and it’s just no fun to take weight off.

There are a lot of things I’d like to do. I’d like to write a great deal more about a great many subjects. Ideas spin in my head. And, I’d like to take some creative writing classes and I’d like to take more of those on-line Yale classes. And there are terrific books coming out all the time that I just must read and ones on the shelves that still need to be read. I heard some blather a couple of weeks ago that the average person reads 700 books in his life time. The point the speaker was making is that we shouldn’t read bad books. If we begin a book and it’s bad, put it down and go on to another and, hopefully, better book. If we’re only going to read 700 books, make them good ones. I've read, of course, far more than that 700 number. I look around me at these shelves and think about counting, but I won’t…

“Why get so smart so late?” That’s what an old friend asks me when he witnesses my furious attempts to get so much more done.

“Relax,” he says, “and travel and have people wait on you.”

Well, if my wife saw things that way I just might; however, she’s into working. She likes working as much I like writing and reading. There’s something furious about her working. I think it’s some kind of security blanket – some way she thinks she’s fighting off father-time. The average life expectancy for women is 80. She’ll beat that by at least ten years, so there will be no extensive travel with her during the rest of my life. Sometimes I get angry at her for working so hard. Sometimes I admire her for it. Most times I just sigh and accept the quiet and emptiness here as a gift that enables me to write and read.

So, the story by Kristin Tillotson tells us, there’s a new web site that targets us – that is, people who are thinking like I’m thinking now. It’s called Next Avenue (where grown-ups keep growing). The paper urges those between 45 and 65 to check it out. Ooops! Does that mean I’m over the hill as Next Avenue sees it?

Yuh see! This is what I’m getting at here. We’ve entered a no man’s land. We can’t golf with just anyone anymore. We’ve got to find the 65+ guys to play with and there aren’t very many of them around. You walk into most bars or restaurants unaccompanied and you’re going to remain that way unless there’s some other 65+ revelers around who might then wave you over. If you go shopping for clothing, you’re looked at oddly if you wander into the POLO Ralph Lauren department. Guys my age are over in the generic brands area.

“Americans age 50-plus today represent something in between mid-life crisis and ready for a walker. Too seasoned to be called spring chickens but too vibrant to feel elderly, these senior in-betweeners are demanding their own new chapter in the book of life.” [Kristin Tillotson, Minneapolis StarTribune]

I guess I’ve already passed through the stage Kristen is talking about above! No more chapters. The book appears closed.

Well, screw it! I'll keep plunging into all those areas where people don’t expect me and they can look oddly at me while I’m there. There’s an 18 year old youngster at the golf club who likes talking to me and he laughs it up with me as if I’m only 60 or so. I appreciate him. I’ll try to play a round of golf with him some day. I know his mom and dad. They’re youngsters in their 50s. They raised this kid well and they should be proud. I’ve an urge to tell him he has 55 years left and he should use them well.

On Next Avenue, I just read about the pros and cons of getting a tattoo. I’m going to pass on that one. Maybe if I was five years younger! There was a slide-show on hip reading glasses and that I enjoyed. I need more reading glasses. I have six or seven pairs around now and I can never find even one when I need them. I can never remember where I put them down.

I don’t think this pair is really me! Do you?

Well now! I don’t spend too many of my mornings crying in my coffee. I’m glad that you were there so I could do it today. Tomorrow I’ll write of something more significant.

Why not become a follower?
If you read my blog regularly, why not become a follower? All you have to do is click in the upper right hand corner and establish a simple means of communication. Then you'll be informed every time a new blog is posted here. If all that's confusing, here's Google's explanation of how to do it! If you don’t want to post comments on the blog, but would like to communicate with me about it, send me an email if you’d like.

No comments:

Post a Comment