Saturday, June 23, 2007

Listen UP! I'm STILL in my 40s!

For another hour and a half I can STILL say that I am in my 40s.

This past year has been a different one for me compared to past ones. Before my 49th, starting every April or so, when asked my age I’d just bump it up to my upcoming one. I don’t know why I did that—its just a habit that started when I was very young when I still actually looked forward to being older and hopefully wealthier and wiser.

It’s funny—I just haven’t been able to get myself to say the response, “I’m 50.” I’d start to think about what I’d say and I’d just go with “Oh, I'm 49.” I noticed that the apparent extra thought I put into answering it would cause a few raised eyebrows. But starting tomorrow, I’ll have no more choice; although I suppose I could just lie. Nahhh! That’s just not in me to do that I guess.

I’ve been thinking a LOT about age lately—imagine that! I’ve been considering how we look at it. Generally, it seems to me that we classify people by the decade in years they are.

We think of teens as inexperienced and searching for identity. We give them absolutely no credibility whatsoever. The teen years are something to "get through." I despised my teens ALMOST as much as my pre-teens.

The twenties and thirties tend to be lumped together—those are the years of our physical if not our mental “prime.” I LOVED my 20s and 30s!

When folks hit 40 they start thinking of their mortality, and of course the deadly idea of "middle age" rears its ugly wrinkled dried up old head. But, we do tend to give folks in their 40s lots of extra “credit” for intelligence and experience. In truth, most folks hit their "working prime" during their 40s, supposedly the years noted as prime for making the most money, which was certainly true for me.

Military folks (like me) rarely stay in the service past the age of 50, except for some generals, E-9s, reservists and guardsmen. Most of the rest of us are in fact forced out before the age of 50. So, over the years, 50 isn’t an age I ever gave much thought to. To me, anything past 5 decades was a black hole of nothingness—its not something I ever wanted to consider.

The age of 60 denotes the beginning of old age; while 70, or OLD age, for most of us marks the beginning of the end of our last decade on earth. Anything past 80 to me is gravy, and 80 is a slim 30 years away for me now. (Mom and Dad, disregard this paragraph; it doesn't apply to you guys!)

So, in less than an hour I will be 50, and I must admit that I feel a little distressed about that. I didn’t feel anything at all when I turned 30, and 40 barely rated a shrug. But 50! For the first time in my life I kind of want to turn back the clock. It tastes unpleasantly bitter and I want to spit it back out before even tasting it.

After all, 60 is ONLY 10 short years away, and I DO mean short. I can’t believe that time can spin so quickly forward. I really thought that once I retired and had fewer things to do with my days that the passage of time would slow down.

But no, the passing days, weeks and months seem to be quickening their passage, even as I have less to do during them. Perhaps that’s the origin of the phrase “its all downhill from here!” because ALL things speed up when going downhill, right?

Ahhhh "momentum"--you SUCK!


KA said...

Wow, I wish I could have been as serene as you - when I turned twenty I had a crisis. i got commissioned, married, sawa n end of an era for myself... I still have to sort out my feelings about my age, since I'm at an "abyss" where I have too many options and no compass to guide me. Then again, i suppose it's different for women, we only get old from our teens, as opposed to men who look better as they age, soemtimes. Damn, i'm depressed. booo! I need a smirnoff. (/rant)

PhilippinesPhil said...

Care to trade ages Katana? I'd do it in a heartbeat!

You say "some men look better as they age..." That's funny. I, and all of us foreigners, hear that malarkey all the time from Filipinas over here. Some of my idiot buddies actually believe it! I should add that little Filipina idiosyncrasy to my list of "things I LOVE about the Philippines!"

KA said...

Lol, hey, I'm just sayin'! Sean Connery, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Pierce Brosnan all look good in old age, while women have a problem staying on the charts past their 20's. A woman's downhill starts A LOT sooner than a man's! Shoot, my husbands 22, and STILL has six pack abs, and looks better than he did at 18. I'm quite the opposite! I lost my abs at 18.... bah! I need to go for a run.

PhilippinesPhil said...

You ARE a hoot Katana, and so damned YOUNG!

I'm still chuckling over your comment about your "ancient" 22 year old husband. My GOD! He's 22 and STILL has a hard tummy? I'm sorry. Its hard not to be sarcastic when you feed me lines like that. You're refreshingly cute... and thanks to you, I feel EVEN older.

KA said...

ahaha! Then I shall quit while I'm behind then.

Anonymous said...

Phil, I had a crisis too when I hit the half century mark. I still resist it by dying my hair and beard, lying on the age forms when I ride public transport here in the Philippines. It's really sweet of Katana to lie about our aging so nicely but we do know better, don't we? Let's hope the next half century will be a good to us as the first.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Alec, before you allow yourself to be beguiled by Kat's comments maybe you should look again at the "old" guys she was referring to: Sean Connery, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Pierce Brosnan!

Brad and Tom are hardly "old," at least to TRULY old guys like us, and the other two, Sean and Pierce, well, average joes like you and me would be nuts to try to compare ourselves to those two movie stars.

In other words, she certainly wasn't referring to the likes of us buddy boy!

Anonymous said...

At least we're in the Philippines, Phil. If I were in the States I KNOW it would be all downhill after hitting 50. Here, I can still wink and flirt and have some fun, real fun. Here we feel some hope anyway, like the guy you mentioned in another post, the one in his 80s with the 18 year old girl friend. Hehehe!

PhilippinesPhil said...

Exactly! And if one is going to be in "denial," as many of us are as we get older, then this IS the place to be! No real reason to have a "crisis" as long as you live out here.