The young barkeep served our beers and said:
“You two look like you are growing old gracefully.”
Then he went away laughing.
Why was he laughing? Does he think we are losing it?
My buddy, Tom, and I almost toppled off our green padded stools!
Are we not in touch with the world and ourselves?
“Well Tom, there’s our next topic for discussion:
Are we growing old gracefully or are we losing it?”
“You know what they say, Dave, there is NO STOPPING the downward slide.
A lot of oldies in my retirement village read your blog so lets dissect this topic.”
We both stared at the painting behind the bar. It was of an old man and a old woman gazing into each others eyes. The caption was: “Forever Always”.
“Tom, are we past our “sell by”date?”
“The Bible tells us that three score and ten is a reasonable age. But you and I have almost got four score. We have been given an extra ten years, who knows how many more we will get.”
“Dave, the other day when I walked past a shop window and glanced at the reflected figure I was astonished. I sneaked another look. Who is that, I thought. Then after a couple of seconds I was forced to remake my own acquaintance; it seems like I no longer recognized myself at first sight. How scary is that?”
“Well Tom, all I can say is: the YOU behind your eyes believes you look like you did thirty years ago even though the reflected image tells a different story!”
“But Dave, aren’t we entitled to our vanity? I’m not embarrassed by my younger image in my head.”
“Whatever floats your boat, Tom. I think one of the most comforting things about growing old gracefully is the ability NOT to take things too seriously.”
We both sipped our beer and pondered our discussion.
“Well Dave, how do you want to be and think when you’re eighty?”
“Well, we are NOT losing it yet! I don’t want to be a cripple, I want some semblance of health. I want to enjoy a walk and a good meal plus some red wine. I want to forgive my parents for bringing me into this absurd world. I want to take each day as it comes and enjoy it. I don’t want to become sour and bitter. I recognize it’s the little things that matter, not fame, success or wealth. I want to be thankful that I’m a nobody, so I don’t have to live in a goldfish bowl.”
“Wow! That’s quite a list. I will add one more thing: who wants to live to be a hundred? I don’t. What’s the point of it? A shorter life and a merry one is far better than a life full of fear and perpetual medical surveillance.”
“Tom, I’ll leave you with this:
In life, we try to do our best, but it is never good enough!”
Also published on Medium.