Being over 60 and beginning to feel it
The older a person gets the sharper becomes the contrast between now and the distant past. Who over sixty could ever imagine hearing about White Supremacists demonstrating fully armed in front of governmental buildings? Or seeing popular films indulging in blatant violation of the Ten Commandments? Or when the danger of autocracy was nonexistent. Or when single mothers were a socially unacceptable rarity. Or – well, let’s slip back a few decades to recognize some stark differences:
Do you remember Saturday serials, chapters one through thirteen, with “Buck Rogers on the Moon.” Movie stars on Dixie Cup tops. Cracker Jack prizes. Lucky Strike Green. Penny loafers. Knickers to your knees. Making money with a lemonade stand (five cents a glass) on the sidewalk in front of your house. The annual Sadie Hawkins dance. Dancing close. Pitching woo. Knock knock jokes. Loud heel taps. Aviator caps with flaps that button down. Peddle pushers.
There are things your don’t hear anymore: “Be sure to pour the cream off the top of the milk bottle when you open first open it.” “Go comb your hair; it look like the rats have nested in it all night.” “There’s a dollar in my purse; get five gallons of gas when you drive to town.” “We’ll have to fill the lamps now so we won’t have to do it tonight in the dark.” “No, I don’t have ten cents for a movie; do you think money grows on trees?” “Today is iceman day; hang out the sign for 50 pounds.” “Stop playing under the sewing machine; pumping messes up the thread.”
You have likely seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon, before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. You would never trade your friends, your wonderful youth, your loving family for more hair or a flatter belly. As you’ve aged, you’ve become kinder to yourself and less critical of yourself; you’ve become your own best friend. You don’t have to chide yourself for eating that extra cookie or for not helping make your bed or for impulsively buying something expensive that you didn’t really need; you’re now entitled to a treat, to be unkempt, to be extravagant.
Who’s business is it if you choose to read or play on the computer until 3 AM and sleep until noon? And you can dance with yourself to those wonderful tunes of the 50s and 60s, and at the same time, if you wish to weep over a lost love, you will.
A senior citizen said to his 80-year-old buddy: “So hear you’re getting married?”
“Do I know her?”
“Is she good looking?”
“Is she a good cook?”
“Not too well.”
“Does she have any money?”
“Nope, poor as a church mouse.”
“Well, is she good in bed?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then why in the world would you marry her?”
“Because she can still drive.”
A senior citizen to be admired was a child born on May 8, 1884. His name? Harry S. Truman, made President after the death of Roosevelt in 1945 – a different kind of President who, during his eight years in office probably made as many or more important decision regarding our nation’s history as any ot the other 42 Presidents preceding him, and that includes the contested decision to bomb Hiroshima and thus end WWII.
He was a thrifty man without outside financial interests, whose income was about $13,000 a year, who paid for his stamps and personally licked them. He paid for all his own travel expenses and food. He was penshioned at $25,000 a year. When retired, he drove himself with his wife Bess to their Misssouri home, with no secret service men following. Known as an ideal gentlemen and ardent churchgoer, he bore no blemishes for unsavory actions.
After leaving office, he declined any offered corporate positions at large salaries and when Congress prepared to award him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused it, saying, “I’ve not done anything to deserve that award or any other award, Congressional or otherwise.”
Before his death in 1972, he was noted to have said, “My choices in life were either to be a piano player in a whore house or a politician, and to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference.”
Some today say he should have been dug up and cloned.