I know it, I admit it, I accept it, and I am not ashamed of it. I am bald. Well, I do have a little hair around my temples, but not much. What brought this to mind was a recent experience I had at my local barbershop.
As I sat in the chair, my longtime barber faced me with a serious look on his face. “Do you want your eyebrows trimmed?” he asked. “I guess so,” I replied. “You guess so, you have more hair there than you do on your head,” he stated. He trimmed my eyebrows. I could have been offended but for the fact that I get a discount from him because there is so little to cut. Aging has its advantages.
Several years ago, my wife and I were in London. From our hotel we decided to ride the Underground to an outlying district. We found a seat together on the crowded train. Soon an elderly woman with a cane walked down the aisle looking for a place to sit. Being the gentleman that I am, I rose and offered her my seat. As she sat down, I told my wife that I would go to the next car, find a seat, and meet here at our next stop.
As I sat, I realized that I did not know where our next stop was, so I rose to walk back to my wife. I walked up and down the aisle but did not see her. I could end up in Scotland, I thought, and began to get concerned.
“Larry, what are you doing?” I heard my wife say. I turned and there she was, sitting in the aisle seat right where I had left her. “Looking for you,” I said, realizing that I had passed her two times without even seeing her. The elderly woman to whom I had given my seat looked at me with pity in her eyes. “You sit here, she said as she offered me her place “You need this seat more than I do. I sat. Sometimes being faced with the realities of aging is not so easy.
Then there are times when others think you are older than you are. This might because of your looks, demeanor or attitude. This happened to me several years ago when I was 55 years old.
I had gone to the county dump with a load of yard clippings. As I approached the entrance, the clerk on duty looked at me as asked if I was 65 years old. “No,” I replied. “Older or younger?” he asked. “Younger,” I snapped in disgust and humiliation. “Why do you ask?” He proceeded to tell me that if I were 65 or older, I would be entitled to a discount.
From that day forward, I received the senior citizen discount at the county dump even at age 55. After all, aging does have its benefits. Now I can get a haircut and go to the dump in the same day and reap the benefits of my seniority. Is it worth it? I don’t know, but it seems that we have little choice but to make the very best of it that we can.
So, there you have it. Aging is real, but it is also in the mind of the aged. You can be old in years, yet young in mind and spirit, or you can be young in years, but old in attitude, appearance, and demeanor. Some of it is up to us, some is not. A friend told me recently that happiness is a state of mind created by choice. We can choose to be happy or not, she said. We can also choose to act our age in years or not. Thomas Jefferson said that we all had the right to the pursuit of happiness. I wonder if he felt old.
For more info: L_Tartaglino@hotmail.com