Young people come up to me all the time and ask, "What's it like to grow old?"
That's not true, of course, young people do not even talk to me except to say things like, "Sir, you really shouldn't be on a skateboard" or shout (while waving one finger), "Where'd you learn to drive, gramps?"
It was while I was looking in the mirror and combing the hair growing on my ears that I thought some of you might not yet be old and wondering just what it is you have to look forward to.
That hair on your ears is one of the things you can expect. In fact, it may be the most hair you have on your head by the time you hit your mid-sixties. But there are other joys:
- All of your joints will start giving you trouble. Most will get stiffer while at least one does the opposite (men only, some women, we call them "wives", see this as a "good thing").
- You will experience pain in places you didn't even realize existed.
- Strenuous exercise will consist of picking up whatever it was that you dropped. And you will drop just about anything.
That athletic ability you had in your youth? Gone, never to be experienced again except in daydreams.
But you gain wisdom and knowledge:
- You learn that knees and hips are replaceable but that backs and ankles and wrists aren't.
- You begin to understand why you shouldn't have done most of the things you did in your life.
- You find that young people listen to your advice but ignore it... just as you once did.
You commiserate with your friends who, maybe not so oddly, are all the same age or older than you. You spend a lot of time re-telling stories of your youthful exploits to people who only listen so that you will sit still while they tell you about theirs..
You fall asleep more easily but wake up earlier... sometimes several times a night. They have a few remedies for this but few of them actually work.
You pretend that riding around the course in a golf cart is "exercise."
In short, growing old sucks... but it is rumored that it beats the alternative.