Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Difference Between “Old” And “Age”


     I recently attended the 65th reunion of my high school class. It was a simple affair – it consisted of a buffet lunch, looking at old pictures, and drifting around the room greeting people we had not seen for many years.
     But we didn't need a special program. It was surprising how quickly and clearly memories of long forgotten events came flashing back upon hearing a key word or two. Most were good memories, although there were occasional recalls of events that perhaps would have been better left in the hidden section of the mind. I do not think anyone deliberately mentioned any forgettable event – they arose as a byproduct of some more pleasant discussion.
     In some cases it was not even necessary to say anything to bring back a memory. I was introduced to one lady who turned out to be a flame which was extinguished at graduation. (I almost said an old flame, but with post-youths such as I am, I hesitate to use the term “old” when referring to anyone my age or younger.) Anyway, she is still a nice looking lady, although definitely no longer my type if she ever was, but it was nice to see her again.
     Some recalled events brought back that fleeting feeling of immortality which teenagers seem to have in excessive amounts, even though at our present age we would frown on that type of hijinks. These were events that illustrate perfectly the saying that middle age is the time when one's narrow waist and broad mind change places (fortunately).
     During the get-together I came to the realization that, even though all of us were retired, and had all come through the same boom times and recessions, Republican and Democratic administrations, wars and peace, etc., I was looking at two almost mutually exclusive types of post-youths. (By this time you may have guessed that I hate the term “senior citizen.”)
     Type one reads the news, gets excited about parties (wine and cheese as well as political), travels, emails and “friends” on Facebook; in other words, type one enjoys reaping the fruits of all those years of labor.
     Type two sits in the house watching the Game Show Network or reruns of I Love Lucy and Texaco Star Theater featuring Milton Berle. It is as if type two individuals are just sitting around waiting to die.
     I realize there are some of us who, although unable to participate in the passing stream of events for physical reasons, have no choice but to sit quietly while life passes them by, and for those I truly feel sorry. But I feel even sorrier for those who could actively participate in life, but choose not to.
     I have come to the conclusion that “age” refers to how long one has walked the earth; “old” is a state of mind. There is no connection between the two.
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     My books, “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” are available in paperback, or at the Kindle Store.

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