About Aging: George Carlin and Me

Today I know it’s absolutely true what I have heard said for all my life, but have come to understand it clearly only in more recent times.  The years do seem to pass faster and faster the older one gets.  As unique events, first times, unmatched experiences and inimitable days become rarer my concept of time is that it truly does “fly by”.  

Even as my reference points have grown to cover decades and not just years, nothing really seems like it was that long ago.  In conversation I have found myself mentioning something that happened in 1980 feeling at that moment is was not that long ago.  Then seeing the perplexed look on the face of the late-twenty-something person I am talking with the realization surfaces that he was not even born yet then.  I often wonder on such instances, do I appear old or experienced to that person?  Or both?  Mostly though, I just don’t seem to care a whole lot any more about what they think.  I am just glad to be here.  

Over twenty years ago I recall walking across a college campus and realizing that in my mid-thirties I had become “invisible to college girls”.  The realization I just looked like someone’s Dad was sobering, but I shook it off at the time thinking “I still look good to grown-up women in their late 20’s, 30’s and even 40’s.  Time passed and now I am mostly invisible to those age groups as well.  

Vivid in my memory is a Wednesday after work about two years ago in a department store when paying at the register a checkout person automatically gave me the senior discount.  My mind screamed “do I look that old to everyone?”  The ego is a horrific judge!  

If my body was a near 60-year-old car, I’d be viewed as one in good shape for its age but needs a tune up, some body work, a new paint job, a front end alignment and a closer look at some corrosion here and there.  Losing weight, eating more healthfully and getting in better shape began with a commitment to my self a few weeks ago.  That should take care of the tune up and body work.  To avoid looking ridiculous I will resist dyeing my hair or having cosmetic surgery to achieve the “new paint job”.  For me personally I could just never allow others to see me as one who needs those things to feel good about them self (even though a little here and there I have thought about it).  

On the subject of corrosion, there is nothing I can do about all the tiny patches of changed texture skin, the little liver colored spots and the occasional bumps that have appeared on my outer self.  I’m OK with all that… I think.  I see the “front end alignment” as mentally getting right with myself.  That seems to be falling into place as I take care of the physical things I can control and continue to write this abundantly therapeutic blog.  Figuratively speaking I feel blessed I have not already been recycled like a few of my friends have, am not wasting away in a junk yard nor in the front yard “up on blocks”.  Just writing that line made me smile and feel better!   

Reading this you may wonder, “What is all this stuff about aging”?  Where is it coming from?  My explanation is fairly simple.  Since beginning this gratitude blog three months ago I find thankfulness comes more easily than ever when I take stock of my life.  Of course those close looks uncover items I momentarily wish were different.  However, I’ve come to realize that is absolutely necessary.  The weight of the not so good and what I could wish were different are needed reference points that help me keep balance in my life and keeps me appreciating all the great good I enjoy.  

It’s my birthday.  Fifty eight years ago somewhere near sunup in Talladega, Alabama the world allowed me to enter.  Now almost six decades (SIX DECADES… yipes) later I have more hope and relish life more than ever before.  I live each day with ever-increasing gratitude that enriches everything.  Without doubt, I know the best of my life is still ahead.  

George Carlin’s Views on Aging 

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions.  “How old are you?” “I’m four and a half!” You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on   five! That’s the key.   

You get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.  “How old are you?” “I’m gonna be 16!” You could be 13, but hey, you’re gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your   life… you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony…YOU BECOME 21.  YESSSS!!!  But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out.  There’s no fun now, you’re just a sour-dumpling. What’s wrong? What’s changed?  You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. 

Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.  But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would!  So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.  You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70!  After that it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!  You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there.  Into the 90s, you start going backwards; “I Was JUST 92.”  Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. “I’m 100 and a half!”  May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!! 

(R.I.P. George)

2 thoughts on “About Aging: George Carlin and Me

  1. I hear you and know that horrible invisible feeling that seems to come with age… and then we remember grace and gratitude, and out mood shifts a bit. 🙂 Great post.

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