"Second childhood" are words that haven't meant much to me until recently. I never thought of myself as old enough to warrant having them applied to me, especially since second childhood usually is a derogatory term.
|Noun||1.||second childhood - mental infirmity as a consequence of old age; sometimes shown by foolish infatuations|
Hey! Those are fighting words! I'm proud of my second childhood, especially my foolish infatuations.
I don't feel like I'm 61. For some reason, the past few years I've been feeling younger with every birthday. If this is a mental infirmity, bring it on. More, please.
A few hours ago I started to get the mower out, this being a warm, dry Oregon day -- a welcome respite from our long string of cold, wet early April weather. But then my eye fell on one of my beloved post-60 infatuations:
Burgie. My Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive scooter. Biggest scooter in the world. And in my utterly biased opinion, the most fun scooter.
Mowing the lawn could wait. I could see that Burgie needed some attention. The wind screen had some spots on it. Ditto the fenders. In fact, the closer I looked, the more I realized that Burgie hadn't had a good wipedown since last fall.
Getting a rag and some plastic cleaning solution, I was taken back to my childhood. Once again I was getting my ride back to a shiny status. Before, it was a red Raleigh three-speed bicycle; now, a white Suzuki automatic scooter.
Same difference. I made my way around the scooter, spraying and wiping. Scooters, like bicycles, are small. It just took me a few minutes to have Burgie back in shape.
I'm writing this at a Salem coffeehouse, having ridden into town on my Burgman with my laptop stored under the seat. Sipping a latte, I don't feel much different from when I was twelve, having pulled my bicycle into the Three Rivers (California) "Candy Store" for some rock string candy.
What is aging, anyway?
We often hear, "You're only as old as you feel." Absolutely. I can see some age spots on the back of my hands as I type these words. But I can't sense any signs of aging in my psyche.
Of course, eventually that could be a sign of senility: not knowing that I'm becoming mentally infirm. If so, that sounds like a good way to grow old -- being unaware that I am.
Last week, during my Tai Chi class I was seized with a thought. Man, I feel so good. I was older than almost all of my classmates. Yet I felt like I could move just as well, if not better, than I could a decade or two ago.
And mentally, I found myself uttering some stupid jokes that would have fitted right into the locker room humor of my high school days back in the 60's. Yeah, I'm into this second childhood thing.
Here's an observation on "dirty old men." As I get older, not surprisingly I've been reconsidering what this means. Often, it's simply a case of outer being at odds with inner.
A guy who looks old, and chronologically is old, may not feel his age. He could be eighty outside and eighteen inside. Since he is aware of himself from the inside, he might respond to a cute young thing as if he was a teenager, not a octogenarian.
Women, give him some slack.
That "dirty old man" is into a second childhood. He feels like he's as young as you are. For a moment he's lost sight of the calendar years he's spent on Earth. If he seems to be acting inappropriately for his age, that's because he doesn't know how old he is.
Well, it's time to get back on my scooter. I'm glad that I don't have to pedal my way home, like I used to have to do. I'm also happy that riding around on two wheels is as enjoyable at 61 as it was at 12.