It's starting to happen. That moment I've been fearing for the latter part of my 59 years. Which happened today at Salem's LifeSource Natural Foods.
Though spoken softly by the clerk, I could hear him clearly. Even with my aging ears."Would you like the discount?" I ignored the guy. Kept on with swiping my VISA card.
I thought, Dude! The sign at every register says "Ask for our senior discount: 62 years and older." For one, am I asking??!! For two, do I look anywhere near 62? Come on!"
Well, I guess I do. But I've got no intention of sliding gently into older age. I don't feel a day over 29, most of the time. It's my graying visage that gives me away, not my decidedly immature psyche.
To my (still sharp) mind, that's how it should be. Our lust for life will take on different forms as the years pass. But there's no reason why it can't remain as strong as ever.
With summer here in Oregon, motorcycles have emerged from their rainy-day cocoons. The unmistakable sound of Harleys fills the air around the downtown Starbucks, where black clad weekend road warriors park their bikes and sip lattes at the outdoor tables.
I'm feeling the two-wheel open-air spirit myself. Memories of my exciting Yamaha Seca II days, quite a few years ago, flood back into my present mundane Toyota Prius'ized driving awareness.
But I'm not a Harley guy. No longer even a motorcycle guy, probably. I find myself Googling high-powered scooters, like the cool Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive. Shiftless, anti lock brakes, adjustable windscreen! Ahhhh….
A neighbor came by a few days ago to show off his newly purchased 2001 Miata. I got to drive it. Cool. After market exhaust pipes. Engine modifications. Shiny silver roll bar to match the car's color. Frank said that buying it can't be the mark of a mid-life crisis, because he's too old for that.
Plus, he said that his wife told him, "If a sports car isn't red, it's not a mid-life crisis." I added, "Also, if the person sitting in the car's passenger seat isn't a cute blonde less than half your age (and not your daughter)."
Along that line, today a guy friend – not quite as old as me, but getting there – remarked that he likes the age he's at because more women look attractive to him. I said, "That makes sense, because when you were young most women were older than you; now, they're younger, because you're approaching geezer status, like me."
We agreed that becoming a dirty old man was something to look forward to, even though it'll mean being entitled to a senior discount at LifeSource.
Then there's the unexpected lusts arising out of the blue, drawing me to visit sites on the Internet that I'd never thought would attract me. Like, this one (mature eyes only, please).
I learned about this central Oregon retirement community via a comment left on one of my blog posts, "Why can't Salem be more like Bend?" I couldn't resist finding its online presence and poking around for a while.
Not that we're close to leaving our non-easy care ten rural acres. Still, I used to think, "They'll have to pry my DR Field and Brush Mower from my cold dead hands." And now Laurel and I find ourselves at least envisioning the day when dealing with all the complexities of small acreage country life gets to be too much for us.
I liked how Touchmark at Mt. Bachelor Village markets itself as a resort retirement community – a place where mountain biking is going to have more appeal for many (or most) than playing bingo.
For the outdoor enthusiast, Touchmark offers unlimited activities. You will enjoy easy River Trail access, walking and bicycling paths, fishing, and snowshoeing—right outside your door. You are a half-hour's drive from Mt. Bachelor ski resort, one of the finest in the country, and a shorter drive to area golf courses. The much-touted Athletic Club of Bend is close by as is the renowned Drake Park and wonderful indoor/outdoor shopping experiences in downtown Bend.
Yeah, I can see us being into all that stuff. Someday. For now, we're too youthful to be part of the crowd shown in this Touchmark photo. But we're getting there.
I just want it to be as slowly as possible. Graduating from a San Francisco bay area college in 1971, right after the Flower Power era, I remember feeling anxious that I'd lose touch with happening youth and become the sort of "straight" person that I was rebelling against.
To some extent, that's happened. As is natural. Fifty-nine isn't twenty-two, no matter how much we baby boomers want to keep alive the magic of the sixties (the decade, not the age).
Yet here I am, cruising onto YouTube, searching for "Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive," and being enthralled by a video of a guy on a powerful scooter driving way too fast, and way too recklessly, on some way narrow and way crowded European streets.
He gets pulled over at the end. Like we all will, by the halting hand of death. But until then…let's not lose our lust for life and willingness to push the edges.