Frequently, when I look in the mirror, I wonder “Who is that old man and why is he staring at me so hard?”
That “old man,” of course, is me. When did I get old?
Was it at the age of 32 when, while packing to move to New York and kneeling down to retrieve a toy from one of my young sons’ bed that I felt my very first tinge of arthritis? Was it when I realized I had more gray in my beard than black? Was it when I found I could not dance without my ankles “freezing up” on me? Maybe it was all of these and more.
At any rate, I think I am now officially “old!” It seems a week does not go by that I don’t have an older relative or friend who dies. When your older relatives die frequently, you are getting “up there” too.
I remember when I was about 10 years old, wondering when I would be “old” and how would I know it. I decided, capriciously, I now realize, that I would be “old” when a current comedian I admired died. I figured he was older enough than me that when he died, I would be “up there” too. That comedian was Bob Hope.
Bob Hope died several years ago. I guess that is when I remembered my decision at age 10 and knew I was then “old.”
Yesterday, we went to the funeral of a dear friend’s mother. This friend is in his late 50s. He still had both his mom and dad living until earlier this week when death from cancer took his mother, Lula Mae. Standing at the funeral yesterday, I realized that one day, my children would be in the same place as Bill, mourning the passing of a parent. It’s just the nature of things.
When did Old Age creep up on me? It snuck in the back door at night when I was sleeping, dreaming of the future, oblivious of the present that was too quickly passing me by.