Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Magic of Aging

Getting older is both strange and fun. As in adolescence, you get these funny FEELINGS. Your legal age increases, but you feel no different than you did at 28. You see people, stop in your tracks and want to shout: "Dad!" or "Marie!" But Dad is long dead, and it's only somebody who's shaped like him, has his hairline and gait -- and the girl so much like Marie resembles Marie as she was 30 years ago.

Aging is a club you can join if you can answer "What were you doing the day Kennedy died?" You get light shocks that make you laugh, such as realizing that the TV show ("Green Acres") you have just mentioned to a co-worker went off the air 11 years before he was born -- or that you remember the lyrics to the novelty record "My Ding-a-Ling."

Weird to be invited to a 30-year college reunion. Weird to be tough and healthy all your life and then suddenly you get plantar fasciitis, or rip a muscle like I did. Weird to see family photos and realize that every adult in those pictures died years ago and you are the only person still living who can identify each one. Weirdest of all is to understand that young people see you as old, washed up. Nothing of the sort! 50-somethings are the royalty of the world! We know who we are and have mastered what we do! And "Fifty is the new 30!"

Fun and strange to find out that there is magic in aging, that it's wild country, stranger than fiction. To age is to become a time-traveler.

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