Old Age Is Always 15 Years Older Than I Am

The title quote is from Oliver Wendell Holmes. I think he was a writer or something. I don’t know. You look it up. I may not have time. I have a problem. I might be getting older, but I’m not sure. For only the second time in my life, my problem is my birthday. It’s coming up in eleven days. Normally I love birthdays because, you know, Yaaa me! I’ve never understood people who downplay birthdays. It’s a day all about you. What’s not to like? Free stuff and lots of attention.

Is the whole world thinking this about me?

Is the whole world thinking this about me?

Age is just a number ~Probably some snot-nosed twenty-something that created a marketing campaign for hair dye in the 80’s.

My birthday is my problem because it’s always been my problem. You see, with my birthday at the end of the year, my parents had a choice to make when I was four years old. They could start me in kindergarten at four years old or wait to start me when I was five. Had I been born nine days later they wouldn’t have had a choice and I would have waited until I was five. I wish I could sue my parents for that choice, but they didn’t know the effect it would have, nor did I until I was old enough to see it in the rear view mirror.

I started school at fours years old. I wasn’t a big four year old either. I was one of the shorter kids, as I should have been since I was the youngest. From the moment I set foot in a school at four years old until I graduated college I was always the youngest of my peers. Until puberty at 12/13 I was also one of the shortest. In 6th grade, when I was ten, one of the larger guys in my class, one of those glandular freaks who was a full year older and hit puberty at eight years old,  thought it was hilarious that he could lift me up almost over his head. He wasn’t teasing or bullying, I allowed it. And just FYI, I am a normal, medium sized human now.

You can live to be a hundred if you give up all things that make you want to live to be a hundred ~Woody Allen

I competed in track in high school and was pretty good. I won some races now and then, and in fact, when I was fourteen I ranked in the top 5% of all fourteen year olds nationally at 10km. I didn’t realize it at the time, but even as a senior I was competing against many runners that were almost a year more physically mature than I. I didn’t think of that at the time but now I wish I could retroactively sue my parents so that I could have been more competitive.

Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional ~Chili Davis

Who is Chili Davis?!!? If you’re first name is Chili, I hope that you were the inventor of chili, otherwise, again, it’s probably just cause to sue your parents. The physical lag between my peers and I wasn’t a big deal, especially after puberty, but mentally the impact of being the youngest of my peers has been huge in both good and not so good ways.

Throughout my life I got a lot of positive pats on the back for my youth. It was a source of pride to be a little younger and accomplishing the same things both in school and later in the workplace. Being the youngest for such a large portion of my life, the portion of our lives when we’re figuring out identity, left me with a permanent Peter Pan complex.

Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many. ~Author Unknown

It took me about 15 years to get over turning thirty. At the time I thought 30 represented “real adulthood.” I imagined that when I turned thirty I’d have to not just have a job, but a career. I thought I’d have to stop being the funny guy, the practical joke guy at the office. I thought that at thirty I’d have to be a real grown up and that all youthful things should be left behind. If those are the standards of being “adult” then thus far I’d have to say that I’ve failed miserably at it.

Now, I’m approaching a landmark birthday, one that in my mind says in no uncertain terms that I am a full blown adult. There’s no ifs, ands or sagging butts about it. I still have a full head of hair, but the color of that hair is starting to change. It’s telling me that even if I bring back the mullet of my youth, the color will out me to the world. I’ve decided to tell everyone that I’m having my tips frosted silver. That’s a thing right? It is now!

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were? ~Satchel Paige

That is my favorite quote about age. It gives me hope because in my mind, thanks to my parents decision all those years ago, for better or worse,  I have always been young and always will be. How do you cope with getting older? Please share your wisdom in the comments.  I have no wisdom on getting older because I don’t know how. Have a great Saturday! ~Phil

19 responses to “Old Age Is Always 15 Years Older Than I Am

  1. Yep. I believe that I’m many years younger than my age on my driver’s license. My advice about aging? Pick an age you’re comfortable with and stick to it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it– so why change your age just because of some arbitrary birth date nonsense? 😉

  2. Like fine wine I get better every year!

  3. A couple of more wars until I reach my next landmark year 🙁

  4. Oh Phil it is so true that you should not let encumber
    The age that holds you back, for it’s really just a number
    And you know that everyone is as young as they all feel
    It’s only the gray hair and the wrinkles that are real.

  5. Sorry, Phil. I can’t help you out here. You see, I am a perpetual 4 year old. I refuse to grow up, although my words may one day out me. I was also 4 when I began kindergarten. But so were a lot of others. I’m pretty sure most of us are still back there, crayons and all 😃

  6. Happy Saturday Phil! Aging is preferable to the alternative .. I’ve just had my birthday and I don’t think about the numbers any more, just be happy and healthy and enjoy each day 🙂

  7. I started at four too which meant that I left school and finished college by the time I was 20, so that was a plus. I think I was born with old thoughts though and have spent the rest of my life trying to regress. Think it might be working too. I’m about 35 now. 😉

    • My problem is I’ve always been young with young thoughts. I think my personality is half the reason most people think I’m younger than I am. But unfortunately my body is starting to tell me I’m not.

  8. The perfect title and I’ll have to remember it when my birthday rolls around next. I’m at the age where I vastly prefer the kindness of candle light and soft focus and it’s always a rude awakening when I see my reflection in the morning sunlight. One thing though, I really like the feeling of “Been there -don’t need to do that again! ” and occasions when I actually can put to use lessons learned. Anita

  9. Phil, you will come to terms with this, or your mid-life crisis will wind you up as a contestant on “Meet Your Second Wife”.

    At least you are happily married. Imagine being single and aging. Oh–wait. As a (straight) man, gray hair and some wrinkles actually make you MORE attractive and marketable. So imagine you hit by a truck, and your wife left alone for the next forty years, single and aging. No matter how attractive and wonderful she is, she’s not going to be considered as appealing to the other gender. So count your crow’s feet lines as blessings.

    Of course, if it’s the approaching Death thing you’re worried about, you’re just going to have to practice denial or acceptance like the rest of us old, old…(sorry, I forgot what I was typing there)…old people.

    • I don’t believe women when they say gray hair and crows feet are attractive. It’s more that those things are a concrete refutation of what I’ve believed about myself forever.

  10. I’m sorry, Peter. If you close your eyes and clap hard enough, though, maybe you’ll get magical assistance in finding again the Country for No Old Men.

    Seriously, I’m sorry. For me, the years and birthdays were entirely untraumatic. Nothing mattered much–even the undateable crone status–until the creepy crepey skin began. “Ew. Is that going to be MY body?”

    So I understand.

    • Yes, admittedly I have a Peter Pan complex, but hopefully not to the point that others notice. That’s alright. My midlife crisis isn’t due until I hit 60. Now get some sleep. It’s way too late or early for you

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