Feeling Old, Thinking Young

By Joe Rector

This past week I celebrated another birthday with my twin brother. Without stating how old I am, let’s just say that if the coronavirus cooperates, my high school class will celebrate its graduation from 50 years ago. I’m not ashamed of my age, but I don’t want to be one of those persons who brags about how long he’s survived. To be honest, I’m stunned at the number of years that have flown by.

I’m a senior citizen, a Baby Boomer, and a retiree. Yes, I’m one of those individuals of which the younger generations make fun. We older folks deserve the pokes because our complaints sometimes are too loud and occur too often. The things about which I most fuss these days deal with health. I’m tired of starting and ending each day with a handful of pills. Prescriptions keep my cholesterol and blood pressure low, my blood flow clot-free, and my restless legs still. I’m not excited about swallowing these medicines, but I’ll do it because staying on this planet a while longer is a goal of mine.

My body is not cooperating with me anymore. I used to be able to eat anything I wanted. These days, the wrong food choice leads to heartburn. Even late-night bouts of throwing up occur. I miss eating onions on a bowl of soup beans or a hamburger. Pizza now battles my digestion whenever I make the mistake of eating it. If this continues, I’ll be left eating leaves and twigs for meals.

Each year brings more aches and pains. My knees and hips ache whenever I do yard work. Yes, Jim and I have a tendency to overdo things. We still will dig ditches or move tons of river rocks. Still, a person would think that his parts would hold up better. Some nights, the aches and pains make sure I don’t get much sleep.

Another thing that comes with each new birthday is my problem with names. Too often, I call the family roll when I address a comment to one of the children. I know my daughter’s name is Lacey, but more often, I call her Sadie, the name of our dog. Dallas is my son, but on occasion, I call him Jim, all the while knowing who he is. I’m also at that point where I put things in safe places; as a result, I struggle to find those objects again. I start to say something, and the slightest interruption might well cause me to forget my train of thought.

What befuddles me most is the fact that my body is that of an old man; however, my mind is stuck between 18-22 years old. I look in the mirror and wonder how the image came to be. If my body would only sync with my mind, I’d be ready for anything. Instead, I wear out much too early and need to hit the sack. My mind wants to stay up late as I did as a young man; my body tells me I’ll regret it the next day.

I enjoyed my birthday and hope to have many more. At the same time, my hope is that I can maintain my health and that my mind still stays young. It’s when we begin to think old that we begin to lose the light that burns inside. All of you “Boomers” need to remain young at heart and mind. We still have much to do and accomplish.

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