I’ve wanted to write for some time but, like you, my trigger is a bit sticky these days. Still, it’s time to clear the air. In honor of your attention span, I’ll keep this short.
When we were young you used to preach, “don’t trust anyone over 30.” When we last met you griped about trusting anyone under 65 and made a point that folks over that age were probably too senile to trust. So, who’s left? Has your train gone completely off the rails? Are you Fox Mulder and don’t trust anyone? What’s with that? I suppose that leaves only you, all alone. Wow.
There are only two ways to grow old. You can close up shop, leave all the inventory in the back room, pull down the shades and wait for the inevitable. Or, you can keep it open, dust off the shelves and do some old fashioned horse-trading. Isn’t the second choice better? You’re going to croak anyway, so why not keep the lights on as long as possible?
What’s with all this whining? Aches, pains, failed operations, lousy bowel movements, the government, MediCare, the entire country, the whole world, all of this beautiful universe? Come on, now. Surely you must realize that all this whining is boring. Don’t you see all those eyeballs rolling? What about those subtle grimaces on the faces across the table? Is all of this lost on you? Sure, whining happens. We all do it. But, please remember, a little whining goes a long way. You’ve turned into a one-trick pony, and that one trick is very, very ho-hum.
You need to can all those redundant, over-ripe stories that come endlessly pouring out of your mouth. Yes, we all love a good story, told once. But, every time we meet? Every day? If the story was that good in the first place, folks would be begging for more. Have you been begged for a story lately? No? Well, that should tell you volumes about your stories. Give them a rest. If you feel the need to tell a story, tell it once. Make it count. Give it a point and move on.
You are drowning us all in nostalgia. OK, we get the point. Things were better in the old days. But, let me remind you that back in the old days you were still whining about how bad the world was behaving. Remember? I do. I was there with you. Things were not that much better in the old days, and they weren’t so bad either. In fact, they were just a little different. Since you spend all your time reminiscing about the old days, you’ve lost a lot of time enjoying today. Does that make any sense? Don’t you have anything at all to look forward to? Even one, small thing? How about that next bowel movement you’re always complaining about? Could that be a single, wonderful experience to give you some motivation to look ahead for a change? Yes, it’s a small thing. But, it’s better than having your head stuck in the rear view mirror for all eternity.
You talk about young people like they are aliens from another planet. You complain about how they dress, their language, their choices in music, food, life style, sex, political views and whatever. Do you remember how silly you looked back in the day? I remember. I was there with you and we both looked silly. Don’t you remember how our parents regaled against everything we did, everything we believed? Do you remember how we used to talk about our parents being “out of touch” with the entire universe? Well, who’s out of touch now?
Perhaps you think this letter is a bit harsh. I suppose it reads that way. But, I worry about you. You’ve become a real drag, my aging friend. I see you moving around pretty well for an old geezer. Your mind seems to be intact, even sharp when you decide to use it. So, I think it all comes down to attitude. You let yourself grow old, upstairs, because you let the fear of living creep into your heart. We still live in the same world. Lots of stuff is still unexplored, still fascinating. Somehow, you’ve closed down your shop and lost that drive to horse-trade with the rest of us.
I miss my old friend but I’m not ready to close down my own shop. So, if you ever decide to get back into the game, to open things up a bit, drop me a line. You’ll find me in the usual places, doing the usual things, still having the fun we used to have together back when. In the meantime, learn to wear your geezerness with pride. It’s a gift.
Yours in age,