I have chronicled here, from time to time, my slide into old age. I realize 46 isn’t really that old, but I sometimes look at it as the gateway to my senior years. Sort of like saying your kid is 10 going on 16 — well there are days I feel like 46 going on 66.
Recently I’ve had a few more lessons in growing old, lessons I feel inclined to share here since I think you must have a good sense of humor about them. It’s the old saying: “You’re all not laughing at me, you’re laughing with me.”
I was sitting down one day to play a board game with my son and as he was setting things up, I looked at the cards which are part of the game and realized I need my glasses to read the small print.
Before I got the glasses I was having trouble reading, but since I’ve been using them at work and home, I’ve almost become dependent on them to read anything. I guess my eyes are saying “you’ve strained us for years, we’re not going back to the way it was!”
So I went to find my glasses and came to the harsh realization I’d left them at the office. Grumbling I threw on my coat and shoes and drove the five minutes to the office so I could find my glasses, then returned to face my opponent in a game I knew now I could not lose because I had the power of sight on my side.
Improved vision or not the outcome was the same as always — the kid beat me.
I received another lesson in getting old recently, this one from a younger driver on the road who verbally accosted me over my driving. I’ll take a lot of abuse from people about growing old — the senior moment jokes, the balding and gray-haired comments and even the snickers I’ve gotten over being forgetful — but don’t tell me I drive like I’m old.
In this incident I was waiting patiently to make a left turn onto a main road, having to cross four lanes in heavy afternoon rush hour traffic. I wasn’t in a hurry and saw no need to squeal my tires by flooring the accelerator. The guy behind me, however, apparently was in a hurry and quickly made his presence known by honking his horn.
I looked up and saw this maniac waving his arms and screaming at the top of his lungs behind me. Amused, I turned the radio up and continued to wait.
So Mr. Impatient decided he was turning right, done waiting for me to make my left. He pulled next to me and rolled his window down to scream bloody murder at me.
“You drive like my grandma!” he yelled. “You had three chances to go and you just sat there!”
I proceeded to roll down my passenger window, laughed at him and asked him what his problem was. I think he was about to get out of his car, but his wife said something and he decided to keep his mouth shut and made his right turn.
As I made my turn, I had to wonder if I was driving like his grandma. Was I being more cautious because I was simply getting old? Or was it experience that was telling me there was no reason to rush into traffic?
Maybe it’s the beginning of old age, or maybe it’s just that magical moment in your life where experience finally makes sense and you do what is necessary rather than doing everything the hard way.