Showing your age … in public

One generational shift seems to be less secrecy about age. Older adults seem more comfortable today beginning a sentence with: “Now that I’m 80…”

An early lesson for most of us was the impropriety of asking an adult’s (especially a woman’s) age. For some it was/is a treasured secret as if most people can’t add up the numbers from graduation and other historical markers.

My brother Rob taught me another helpful lesson on this subject many years ago. If you must guess, aim low for adult women and high for younger females.

For example, a 50-year-old loves for you to (pretend to) think she is 37. Likewise, a high school junior brightens up when asked: “Where do you go to college?”

Now fighting the battle of aging to a reasonable degree is OK by me. But the reality is that we can never win in the end.

Signs of a turning calendar are everywhere in the mirror: thinning hair, creases on my face, ghosts of suntans past.

But there is some optional evidence as well, as pointed out to me recently.

The dates on my old running shirts go back beyond the modern era. Back to the time around my older daughter’s birth 16 years ago.

That’s easy to explain: in the early ’90s there was always a Saturday morning road race in the Atlanta area. I could get my exercise, breakfast and a shirt — and be back home by about 9 AM.

Now Saturday mornings seem better suited for drinking coffee and posting a blog. And my exercise has taken a slower pace so my knee won’t hurt the next day. And the last thing I need is another T-shirt.

So I thought about putting away the old shirts. But they are really comfortable. And, most importantly to acknowledge, the other signs of aging just want go into the closet with them.

The late John Claypool made a major impact on my theology. He taught me the important truth that “Life is gift.” Therefore, each year should be received with gratitude and hope for another.

1 Comment

  1. I know the feeling; my hair is just about all grey now. But it does have it's benefits. I just learned I'm going to be a granddad …or papa … or peepaw … or whatever he or she wants to call me–except "old man."

    Life is a gift isn't it? Sometimes I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude for being alive.

    Chuck Queen

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