THE MAZE OF AGE

Growing up and getting old are not the same thing. You’ve probably noticed.

We went to the eye doctor yesterday. Eye exams for both of us and amazingly, neither of us needed new glasses. What a relief! I did need new computer glasses and Lenscrafters was having a fabulous sale — a complete pair in an hour for $99. The ones I’ve been wearing have gotten scratched, which after three years was probably inevitable.

While I was talking about eyes and glasses, the eye doctor wanted to know what Garry does to stay so young. He was very impressed. “Does he have a workout routine or something,” he asked.

“He was a Marine,” I said, “And he has always taken good care of his body. Better these days now that he doesn’t drink or eat junk food.”

“Well, I get a lot of people his age in here and they are old. He looks great.”

Garry does look great, even if he doesn’t always feel as good as he looks. This weather is hard on his arthritis, as it is on mine. Garry told me he doesn’t feel old. Yes, of course, he complains about aches and pains, but he doesn’t “feel old.” Whatever that means. I said neither do I. My body has its own agenda and I have to deal with it, but it’s not something I’d choose. The body is separate and it has issues, but my mind isn’t old. A little forgetful, but otherwise, pretty good. Mostly.

What does “old” feel like? Not whether or not you get Social Security or have grand children. How does it feel? How do you know you’ve made it? I was first told it would be when I had children, but my son is heading towards his own lack of maturity. Does this stuff run in families?

Thus we got to talking about the people we know. Who is “old.” Who isn’t.

In our age group, we know some old people, including a few who seem to have been caught in a generational time warp. They aren’t old exactly, but they aren’t living in today’s world, either and no it isn’t dementia. They just loved the sixties so much, they never emerged. I sometimes think I should have done the same, but I digress.

Other people we know have always been old. They were born with an “old” gene. And the rest of us don’t feel like we’ve made it into adulthood. Are “adulthood” and “adultery” variations on one bizarre word?

Personally, I was sure by the time my granddaughter was breaching 21 and Garry and I were getting Social Security, this was as mature as we will get — and I suspect I was right. Apparently feeling grown up is not a “calendar” factor. More like a maze in which you wander twisting hallways. Some roam down “old” halls, others not.

It is interesting, this “getting old” thing. Your body goes its own way. Your mind travels differently. Even when my physical self feels like road kill, my brain is ready to go. That my body won’t do what I want presents me with a conflict I cannot resolve. I’m sure this is something every one of every age deals with if they are disabled. You deal with it. Learn to recognize what you can and cannot do, but you never get used to it.

I have rebellious days, even now, though fewer as time goes on. Is that maturity? Thank God for computers! At least here, I can fly.