Do you remember, when we were kids, that thirty years old was considered early-onset senior citizen status? Who wanted to live that long? Then, as a pre-teen, sixteen years old was as far ahead as you could plot. At sixteen, you started thinking that life really began and ended between the ages of 18-22. By 18, you were salivating at the thought of being 21 and no longer flirting with that underage drinking stigma that the filthy cops were forever slapping on “innocent” kids looking for fun. By 21, you start looking forward to lower discounts on insurance when you hit 25. By 25 you don’t want to be “that guy” at college parties, and yet no one takes you seriously in terms of life experience. And when you hit 30, people start bringing Viagra and penis-barbell gag-gifts to your birthday parties.
What the hell happened?
Thirty five years has gone by, that’s what. In my continued struggle against a set of Johnathan Winters-style jowls and a Mr. Belvedere gut, I try and embrace different physical fitness activities, and said activities kick me square in the grapes. Look, I’m even calling them “physical fitness activities” as opposed to playing sports. Cripes, I’m getting old. As I sit here in my office, the hoodie pulled up tight against this wicked 69 degree temp indoors, I shudder a little at the thought. I have now switched from an offensive mode of aging into a defensive posture, whereby I’m forced to defend the 30’s much the way I’m forced to defend the music of the 80’s. This is how old men earn the title “crotchety”. It’s a little bit of a relief that it’s not just me, though. When describing to my mom this couple who were in their 70’s as “elderly”, there was an audible clearing of her throat, followed by what I can only imagine was an arched eyebrow (mind you this is on the phone) and an “Excuse me, young man? Old, you say?”
I didn’t even feel bad at this point telling her that, yes, society does tend to refer to people in that age bracket as “older”. Listen, I’m in my thirties and already The Wife’s teenage clients roll their eyes at the thought of someone my age being useful as anything more than a walking relic.
And that pain in my back that pops up at weird times? Like when I’m pulling up my turnout pants and boots to make a fire run? That one? It’s f—-ing debilitating and embarrassing as well.
It’s really just another reminder. Another reminder that the fight against going downhill is an uphill battle, one that requires twice as much effort, inhuman amounts of willpower (why CAN’T I eat two pounds of bacon and drink nine Guinnesses?) and a healthy dose of Ibuprofen.
A sense of humor helps, too.
Old People Rule. I should know….I’m one of them now.