SBC Life Articles

Nifty at Fifty

It finally happened. I got my invitation to join the retirement association. They were a little early. I guess they were preparing me. This summer I will be fifty years old. It's the autumn of life and everything seems to be heading south. I guess it really hit me when I filled out a survey and checked the box marked 45-55, and realized I was in the next to the last box.

I can't wait to get all the cards that say things like, "It's your fiftieth birthday. Ahead of you is adventure, romance, challenge, … and a lot of other good reading, too."

I admit things seem to be changing. My hair is starting to wrinkle on the way up and now comes out my ear instead of out of my head. There appears to be more sand in the bottom of the hourglass. My narrow waist and broad mind have started to trade places. I notice that there is usually a noisy crash when I park the car. That funny face that I used to make in the mirror when I was a kid, well, the mirror is now getting even.

My diet has changed. I can remember when bacon and eggs and sunshine were good for you. Now I eat cream of wheat, wheat crackers, wheat germ, and wheat shrimp. I long for a cholesterol picnic of fried chicken, but that enzyme that digests almost anything is gone.

I guess the psychological changes are what bother me most. I can still do a lot of things physically. I can still merge in traffic and drive at night but I admit the gleam in my eye is usually the reflection from my bifocals.

Most of the time I'd prefer a hot bath to a hot date. I think part of the problem is the bath water. I never had a bath in my adult life until this year. I always took showers. Then I took a bath and all of a sudden I'm fifty. If you're doing great with showers, don't take baths.

What really concerns me is I'm getting like old people. I drive around town with others and tell them what's no longer there. I holler out gas prices. My dad used to do that and I didn't understand why. At a certain age you can't go by a gas station without hollering out the gas prices. Maybe a Gas Price Support Group would help.

I get the feeling I'm on Golden Pond and my boat is sinking. I'm not going to let it get to me, though. I can still walk down memory lane without getting lost. I'm going to enjoy the grandbabies. I love keeping them. It doesn't matter that they get up five times a night — so do I. As a matter of fact, I told my wife since we get up five times a night anyway to go to the bathroom, why don't we have a baby. The only problem is we would forget where we put it.

I'm not going to get depressed that most of my dreams haven't come true. One did. When I was a kid my mother was really rough when she combed my hair, and I would dream that I didn't have any.

I admit my body has changed — my back goes out more than I do. But I'm not old, I'm chronologically gifted — I have experience. I may be a little over the hill, but I'm not under it. I'm going to enjoy life. I'm learning ways to look young — I sit in public and eat prunes. Since they are so wrinkled, I look great.

Then there are the benefits of getting older. People let me cut in line at the checkout counter. They think I'm having difficulty breathing. I've just had to learn to do some things to adjust. I need to clear my throat occasionally so the cleaning lady doesn't dust me. There are a lot of other great things about growing older … I wish I could remember some of them. I do remember my body is wrinkled but my soul is fresh. I'm not going to give up — I'm going to look up. I'm not going to retire — I'm going to refire.

So when you see the glow in the Western sky, it's my birthday cake. People will stand around it to keep warm because heat is good for their arthritis. I want you to know that I will amaze my friends and blow out all of the candles, even if that sets off the smoke alarm. It's going to be nifty to be fifty. Although my reflexes may be slow, I still have a lot of get up and go. Like all great runners, as I finish the race, I'm picking up the pace.

    About the Author

  • Charles Lowery