Growing Old Without Really Trying

I don’t actually know when it happened, or even if it happened. I suspect it happened, and I’m starting to accept it happened. My inside voice doesn’t believe it happened, but that voice has been wrong so many times, I don’t know whether to believe it or not.

Some people think I crossed over many years ago. In fact, I was hired as a youth worker at a church when I was thirty-six, and one of the boys in the group said, “Where did you get this old geezer?” I was an old geezer when I was a just a kid!

There isn’t a mile marker that I’m aware of, announcing where we’re finally old. I never received anything in the mail that read, “Now that you’re old, here are the things you can’t do anymore.”

When I was a kid, every Sunday after the church service ended, I walked up to the organist to talk to him. Morris had enormous amounts of hair in his ears. He and his wife, Esther, who played the piano, were incredibly talented, and very nice people. The hair in Morris’s ears didn’t scare me away, and I never asked him about it.

Morris’s ear crop was black and gray, so it wasn’t like I couldn’t see it. It was a shrub on the bottom of his ear. If ear hair is the marker, I’m old. Mine is white, so I’m not sure if people can see it or not. I should probably let it grow and then ask the barista at Starbucks if she can see it. That might be weird.

I started getting gray hair when I was twenty-three, so that definitely isn’t the marker. It’s white now, and Mary likes it, so that can’t be the marker either.

I have noticed my hair is moving. It’s almost as if the hair on top of my head got tired of living there and decided to take over my face. Hair is growing in the middle of my forehead as it slowly creeps toward to my nose.

I don’t know when turkey skin took control of my neck. I wasn’t paying attention and by the time I noticed, it was far too late.

Mary often tells me my eyes are closed when I can see just fine, although it’s like I’m watching a widescreen movie. It’s hard for others to see them unless I open my eyes wide like I was just surprised by a horrible odor.

Speaking of odors, I realized I’ve been paying close attention to if and when my bowels decide to exercise. Even writing the word “bowels” makes me feel old, let alone saying it. Bowels, bowels, bowels. Maybe I should get used to it.

I remember when I was a kid my aunt asked my cousin if she needed to “BM.” I didn’t know what that meant, and I didn’t ask. We used a different word, so I knew it had to be something special.

Persuading my inner equipment to move is something I never thought I would have to do, but now I take powdered dynamite quite often.

Maybe having a doctor’s finger in a place that never sees the light of day is a marker, but the first time that happened was fifteen years ago. That can’t be it.

Being knocked out so a doctor can investigate my dark inner sanctum with a camera on the end of a giant octopus tentacle might be a marker. I’m not sure. I am sure I’ve had two of those searches.

I wonder if having someone open a door for me is a marker. While I genuinely appreciate the kindness, I’m usually the one who opens doors for others.

Are vivid memories of life sixty years ago, while not remembering what I had for lunch yesterday a marker? Maybe.

Having grandchildren isn’t a marker, but when did my first grandson grow old enough to be in college? Where was I when that was happening?

Is being married for almost fifty years to the love of my life, my high school sweetheart, the most precious person I have ever known a marker? If it is, then I gladly, thankfully accept it. I am old.

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