My favorite show is back on for the summer. Have you seen “Men of a Certain Age?” It’s about 3 men facing midlife and the everyday life crises, both good and bad. If you haven’t watched it, give it a try.
Anyway, recently, a very good friend of ours celebrated his 50th birthday at his and his partner’s beach house on the Florida Panhandle. They invited about 30 of their closest friends, and organized all kinds of special events, including a beach bonfire and a catered shrimp boil with dancing, a day of beach olympics, and more…
In looking around at these people, all hovering around the mid-late 40′s to late 50′s, it struck me how youthful “midlife” has become. It seems that life has not worn away the physical or mental facilities as it once seemed to. I remember seeing my friends’ parents whenI was a kid and considering them fossils. My own parents, on the other hand, were way cooler, Mom in her long blonde fall (clip on hair) and mini dress, Dad in his Nehru shirt and glue-on mustache.
Although I am now a card-carrying member of AARP (and carry their group health insurance for all us old farts), and have, unashameadly, nodded my head when asked if I get the Senior Discount at the grocery store on Wednesdays, I consider myself a far cry from “Old”.
Hearing aides? Got ‘em! NOT because I’m losing my hearing in Old Age, but because my brother had a rock band that practiced in our rec room next to my bedroom, and I’ve been partially deaf since high school. Besides, my “little helpers” are neon green (the green meanies) and I consider myself a trend-setter with them.
But I digress. Back to the birthday weekend. I look around at this group of physically fit, perfectly groomed, emotionally stable guys and girls, and it is obvious that life is what we make it, we’re as young (or old) as we feel, yadda yadda yadda.
So as I helped my friend say “Sarong 40′s, Hello, 50′s” –yes, sarongs were mandatory for all on the last night– I was struck by how young we are in our middle years, and how numbers just don’t seem to mean that much anymore. Samuel Ullman once said ”Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”
I love this quote! Love It! And I, for one, among many of you, I suspect, refuse to let a calendar dictate how I feel, act, or think. In fact, 50, for me, marked a rebirth of enthusiasm for life, for living, for enjoying what is yet to come. What are your thoughts on aging? Will you allow time to kick your ass, or will you kick back?