Over 20 years ago my roommate Tim and I listened to Randy Stonehill sing “Turning 30”. As we listened we contemplated the mysteries and physical pains that seemed to be associated with such an old age. In grade school I had a red covered Webster’s dictionary. In the back of that dictionary I started writing down the school years I had yet to go through (which was most of them) and the coordinating age I’d be in each one. For some reason I kept going with the year and age until I got to 35. I have no idea why I stopped at 35 other than my 4th grade self couldn’t imagine life beyond that number. Today I turn 44 and I love it, but not enough to write a song about it.
I’ve always looked forward to being older than I was. Early on it meant that I rarely enjoyed the age and stage or even the moment I found myself in. Finally I grew past that but I’m still looking forward to getting older. “Older” means being able to say whatever you want, no matter how brutally true and people still listen and smile, just whispering, “he’s older…” to each other as you rant. Being “Older” means being able to yell at the kids to “get off the damn lawn.” I don’t care if the kids are on the lawn, honestly I’d prefer it, but just the freedom to be able to yell at the person canvassing our neighbourhood for donations to ______________ (fill in the blank w/a charity) sounds attractive to me.
Just like putting on glasses automatically made people assume my I.Q. was higher than it actually is, getting “Older” assumes wisdom and maturity. I’ve given up on maturity so whatever points I can accumulate for wisdom would be sweet. Right now, when I’m faced with someone asking for advice all I can do is fall back on the long pause, stroke the beard, look off at the nail hole in the wall behind their head and appear to think and then slowly look into their eyes and say, “What do YOU think the answer is?” Generally the have already figured out the answer to their own question or dilemma and hearing themselves say it somehow moves them to tell me how wise I’m getting. For once I’d just like to have a helpful answer for someone and I’m counting on “Old” to get me there.
I’m also looking forward to hair that’s all one colour. I won’t go on about this since I’ve blogged it before but I’m all for the white finally taking over my beard AND the hair on top of my head. Yesterday someone told me I was definitely ‘two-toned’ and I think they either didn’t count the white or meant ‘tri-toned’. I wear plaids and stripes at the same time so there’s no accounting for WHY this bothers me, it just does. I also don’t like wrinkled clothes. Not sure how I’ll deal with the skin.
I’ve got some aches these days. And I’m long past the days where I could consume vast quantities of food and trust my metabolism to keep me heroin addict thin. I have to look over the top of my glasses to read things close up now (not cool) or hold it out at arms length (also not cool). I can’t stand rap music but I’m not sure if that’s an age or just a good taste thing. And an exciting Friday night involves staying in more than going out and nice cup of tea hits the spot.
At the same time, I still love rock-n-roll. I have a working knowledge of computers and I’m not afraid of technology. I know what an iPod is, I’d just rather put my money towards a snowblower. I still buy more clothes from the trendy section than the “Arnold Palmer” collection at Sears but it is still Sears. I’d rather play sports than watch them on TV still but I have to take a lot more breaks now. I still enjoy a glass of wine or a good Canadian beer but I don’t drink to forget things, I’ve already got enough of that happening without adding to the process. No false teeth yet, no major surgeries for me to tell you about, no grandkids yet but some of my twenty-something friends are telling their kids to call me “grampie”. I love my friends.
At 44 I feel like I’m really just getting started. I’m just now starting to ‘get’ people and like them and my yelling at kids to get off the lawn not withstanding, people seem to be what all of this is all about. I’m finally comfortable in my own skin (too comfortable the elusive Donna might say) and I like who I am. I groove on my introvertedness (which spell check tells me is not a word – stupid spell check) and my mic in hand induced public extrovertedness. I have a clearer picture of who I am now and just as importantly, who I’m not. I’m much quicker to ask for help now or higher a professional to do a job for me than I was when I was younger and more full of my self. And I’ve come to know and embrace just how impoverished of spirit I really am and how very, very much I need the grace of God.
Today I start year 44 sure of only one thing: this will be unlike any other year, 1-43, that have come before it. And that’s cool with me.