The Age-old Problem Of Aging

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - July 16, 2008

It’s official. I am getting old. The realization of this rite of passage came when my daughter, Zoe, held up my reading glasses and asked, “Daddy, do you have bad eyes?” It was soon thereafter that AARP called offering me a membership. Reading glasses? Hey, I’m 46. I’ve still got some game, right?

Game or no game, I find myself becoming my parents.

For example, I have an iPod. It was a gift from my substantially younger wife. I do like it, but this is not something I would have bought for myself. First of all, where do you put the CD? The scary thing is I still remember the record player where you stacked your albums and they would automatically fall when they finished playing. Even worse, I recall the yellow plastic adapter for the 45s. Yes, I did have an 8-track in my car, and when cassettes came out, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Today, my phone plays music.

We had a black-and-white TV with tubes and an antenna. There were three stations to choose from, and we had to get up and change the channel. I have a TV as big as our wall that has 1,200 channels. Thank goodness we have evolved. I can order my dinner on my TV. If they could only find a way so I don’t have to get up and answer the door.

My first car was a 1968 Buick Skylark. I don’t remember if it even had seat belts. Heck, it may not even had seats. Gas was 65 cents a gallon when I had that beast, but I remember looking out our Oldsmobile as a kid and seeing the Sinclair station selling gas for 19 cents per gallon. That was so long ago, Sinclair used a real dinosaur for its logo.

I admit that I am getting older. It’s true, because I officially can’t stand the music, TV shows, fashion or lingo of teenagers. I’d rather have a root canal while salting a paper cut than listen to rap music. And what’s with the pants drooping halfway down your backside? Buy a belt.

Speaking of music, I find myself asking people to turn it down rather than turn it up. Acruel reminder of my chronological descent is that music from the ‘80s is officially heard on the oldies radio station.

I’d rather watch boxing than MMA. Actually, I’d rather watch Antiques Roadshow than boxing.

I actually pulled an all-nighter recently. My brother-in-law and I shared several beverages, cigars and a marathon poker game. We wrapped it up when our respective wives woke up, shook their heads and prevented our children from seeing us. That was two months ago and I still have a headache. I just can’t play as hard as I once did. My recovery time after a night out is about the same as a hip replacement.

I’d rather hang with people in their 60s than people in their 20s.

Yes, I do read the obituary page. Tupperware excites me. A new knife set is a delight. I think I actually squealed when they delivered our new washer and dryer. Home appliances are very stimulating. Bikini contests used to be a big deal. Now I get sweaty at Pier One. I’m doomed.

Understanding my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek, the reality is the clock keeps ticking. I do find myself pining for the past because it’s safe. Been there, done that. It’s the future that can bring anxiety and uncertainty. Frankly, who wants to face mortality? But the key is the mind. We can’t do much about the physical changes, but we can maintain our mental acuity and shape our attitudes toward aging.

Satchel Paige, legendary baseball pitcher, asked the question, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” That’s a great question at any age.

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