It isn’t hard to get old. All you have to do is not die, and you will get there. Some people are old at 50, and others don’t get old until they are way into their 70s. When your body starts to give out it, doesn’t matter how good your attitude still is, people will assume you are old. I had a kid in my high school who started going bald at 16. He could go to any liquor store and buy beer. People thought he was old.
It is bad when you don’t think you are old, but young people start opening doors for you, or a cashier will ask if you need help taking your purchase to the car. You don’t feel old, or you have convinced yourself that you can still do everything you always could do, but you can’t, or if you do you, pay a price for it.
I can still work like I did when I was thirty-five, but not for very long. I can take on a project that would take maybe a day or a day and a half years ago, but now I am still working on it that next week. Oh, I can still push myself, but I end up taking a couple days off to recover, so it really is better if I pace myself.
Sometimes though, having the experience of years of doing things lets you cut off a lot of time you would have taken when you were younger, because you have made all the mistakes and you know how to avoid them.
I can build a piece of furniture and already know how to cut out the pieces, and in what order to save wood and what kind of joinery I will use and how best to clamp everything up and how long I should leave those clamps on so that the glue joint will hold up for years. I think over the years I have made all the mistakes you could make, and at least at this time in my life, I can still remember how to avoid them.
Also, now I can enjoy cutting out a perfect joint and feel a sense of accomplishment when everything fits just right. When I was younger it was just, get it done, so you can work on the next project. Slowing down as you grow older has some advantages.
As I get older, I think I take more pride in what I make and will take those extra steps that you need to take if you want your project to look better than alright. Maybe to lift it from craft to art.
Your body changes as you get older with aches and pains in every joint. Maybe not all the time but a knee on one day and your elbow another. Your skin gets thinner, and you can get cuts more easily, and just bump anything and you will bruise up. Yeah, like I almost forgot, your hair gets a lot thinner and the stuff on the top tends to leave. Muscles tend to get sore quicker with use.
There is a reason they sell so much Icy Hot and Blue Emu. As my wife says, your hearing can start to go and you use your glasses more often
But it is not all bad. You get to reread books you were forced to read in school, and they are so much better now. Not just school books. I just reread The Hobbit, and it is still a great read. Also, you probably are not going to work, so if you have that great book you can just about read it right through to the end.
You probably have a nicer car or truck when you get older, and thankfully, nobody expects you to work on it because you probably can’t. There are no points any more, and plugs last for a 100,000 miles. And let’s face it, none of us has much ability for working with the onboard computers in whatever we drive.
I’ll tell you one thing that is way better, and that is gardening. At this time in your life you have probably tried everything there is to grow in your area, and you know what you are good at growing, and everyone younger than you appreciates your gift of vine ripe tomatoes or some sweet corn or peppers. Also, by now your fruit trees must be producing way more than you can eat.
Thinking. You now have time to do a lot of thinking. A lot of it is trying to remember what that word is or that person’s name, or where that restaurant was that you had that great meal at 15 years ago.
Sometimes though, you come up with some very good thoughts. I think that relates to a life of making mistakes and learning how to do things the right way.
If you are still in love with your girlfriend (wife) you will notice that she is as beautiful as she ever was, but most likely way more beautiful. At least that is the case with mine. Also, by now you should know what works with her and what doesn’t, and that makes for a way more happy life.
Money. Well it does seem to go faster just like time does, but you probably don’t spend as much. If you have taken care of your things you might not need to buy new ones. I now understand why my dad never wanted a new couch. That green one was so comfortable.
Tools. Good tools can last a lifetime and even longer than that as my dad passed on his tools to me, and now I have given some of them to my son. The same is true for a home that has been kept in good repair.
So, getting old is not so bad. Other than the aches and pains and the searching for words, life goes on, although it might be at a slower pace. It is still filled with laughter and sadness, hope and regrets, and lots and lots of love.
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