I’m an old man! I look it; at times I feel it. I just don’t know how to think about it. I’m not “getting older” or “aging”, at least in the sense that the actuality is approaching, is somewhere in the future, although soon. It’s here. Indeed, it’s been here for a while.
When I say that I don’t know how to think about it what I believe that means is I don’t know how to make peace with it…….to settle into it………accept it…….make it part of my world. I say “I don’t feel old”, or more to the point, “I don’t feel 69”, quickly followed by wondering “what does - or should - being 69 feel like? And that’s fair, at least as far as it goes. I doubt that I ever consciously formed an opinion of what 69 would feel like, although I probably could have described what someone who is that age would look like. And oddly, it still surprises me when I look in the mirror that I look so much older than I expected. Along the way when I was younger than today, I knew people who were “approaching 70” and I suppose that to my younger self they looked “old”. And that may say as much as is factual about whatever consideration I gave to the matter at those times. I knew very little - if anything - about the interior lives of those people, except to the extent that what they said or did revealed their thoughts and / or attitudes. Some, for example, gave up driving at night, while others traveled less, settled in and seemed ready to accept, perhaps even welcome, a more constricted life. Their minds seemed inclined to mirror their bodies, and to demand less, to accept less, just because that’s how it was. Knees and hands ached, hearing was less acute, vision for reading was declining or gone. But of what they thought - really, felt - about these things, I had no idea.
In truth, it’s less that I don’t know how to think about being old and more that I just don’t want it - don’t want to be old. I’m not ready. There’s so much more I want to see, taste, do, know, learn. This feeling that my time is limited is frightening, and annoying……..inconvenient. I don’t want to accommodate myself to it, if that means accept it and be less, want less, accept less.