Almost 55 at the time of this writing, many would declare me an old man. I don’t yet think of myself that way, but I’ll admit I’m slipping down the slide. And it’s lubricated. What an annoying reality, that once we pass our early prime in any given area of life, we are no longer growing but aging—and not in the splendid manner of wine, cheddar, or Levi’s.
What follows are some specific hardships in which I expect to engage among the silver sea of the seasoned if I haven’t already. Compassion please, my juvenile comrades.
Having to struggle for that elusive word escaping you in a conversation…something really tricky, like “door,” or your youngest child’s name.
Repeating yourself but having just enough mental acuity left to realize that you have just done so, which is more embarrassing than if you were clueless.
Getting so wise that you can’t relate to “kids” in their 30s. Or “toddlers” in their 20s.
Feeling proud that you could hear and focus well enough to track a conversation, and then realizing that you were talking to yourself.
Getting more dorky. If it can happen to aging celebrities and rock gods, it’s surely a concern for the average individual.
Or wanting to be lonely. (Not giving a rip because you’ve seen a load of humans over the duration.)
Losing one’s “filter.” (Related to “not giving a rip” concept. Or perhaps it’s a mental health issue—not realizing you said aloud what you were thinking because your connections are faulty).
Not relating to the under-forty youngsters because you can’t understand their version of your language.
Getting derisive glances and eyerolls for your clothing choices. (Although, strangely, youngsters laughed at my practical and comfy socks-in-sandals choice years ago when I was a very cool teacher.)
Having a certain odor. Why is this, anyway? Could be decaying flesh, or perhaps the accumulation of years and years of ambient funk, which apparently absorbs better than coffee, citrus, or cologne.
On a positive note, it is said that increasing social awkwardness might cause a shyer person to be more likely to engage with strangers, thereby making new connections. Which is wonderful, until one realizes that their new friend is in fact their brother-in-law.
Having to scroll down forever to select your birth year on an app or website.
Hoping the list will even go down that far. (Embarrassing way to freeze up the browser.)
Finally finding the year but forgetting your birthdate.
Adapting painfully to yet another phase of massive change when you still have nostalgic memory of the original invention (or close to it), such as:
Manual Typewriter → IBM Electric → Word Processor (device) → Word Processing Software on computers, minimal formatting → Word Processing Software, excessive formatting and features → Desktop Publishing Software / Presentation Software / Spreadsheet Software → Google reads your mind and provides text and multimedia for you → You’re not sure you’ve had an original thought in months.
Rotary Telephone → Touchtone Phone → Touchtone Phone with Answering Machine (little cassette) → Phone with Answering Machine (mysteriously storing messages without tape) → Cordless Phone (still a landline though) → Cellular Phone (big brick style with telescoping antenna) → Cell Phone (flip) → Smartphone (touchscreen) → Smartphone with zillions of apps (now uncool to use for actual phone calls) → Chip that Meta inserted in your temple last night when you fell asleep at 6:30 p.m.
Record Player (mono) → Record Player (stereo) → Multi-record Changer Turntable → Cassette Tape Player → Eight-Track Player → Cassette Tape Player (eight-track wasn’t a step forward—large and clumsy to use) → Vinyl Record Players (cassettes still sounded like crap, not even as good as eight-tracks did) → Cassette Tape Player (improved thanks to scientists as BASF) → Cassette Tape Recorder/Player (copy those records to go!) → CD Player → MP3 Player → Smartphone Music App → Tolerating unwanted music streaming from that chip in your head.
Seriously considering back-to-scalp hair transplant procedure.
Not being able to afford said procedure due to rising cost of Ensure.
Not being able to buy Ensure anyway because can’t find checkbook.
Finally finding checkbook but unable to buy Ensure because the store hasn’t taken checks in years.
Not understanding those under-forty youngsters because you can’t hear.
Not properly completing a pee until after the underwear goes up.
(Men) Peeing a little after a sneeze or laugh.
(Women) Peeing more than you always used to after a sneeze or laugh.
Loss of certain innate drives down below, such as not wanting to pick things up.
Waking up with a hangover after just a couple drinks.
Waking up with a hangover after not drinking.
Not waking up. Though not a bad way to go.
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