Don’t let aging get you down

Country Roads

Everyone seems to be younger these days. I’m not.

Not that long ago I was the kid on the block. That has changed. Now when I take a glimpse in the mirror I look like the photo on my Costco card.

I’m not worried, though. Age is a number; old is in your head.

When I joined Rotary in 1984 I was one of the young guys. Now I am now one of the six oldest members of our 180-member club. Like the blink of an eye it seems.

In my 20s I developed some symptoms that required the attention of an ear, nose and throat doctor ̶ an ENT or, if you’re really into medical jargon, an otolaryngologist. Dr. Davey was a delightful older doctor. I got to thinking the other day that he was probably younger then than I am today. Every doctor I see today is younger than I am.

And doctor appointments are frustrating these days. I’m being cautioned to slow down by doctors instead of the police.

Nurses are younger than I am, too. When I was a kid, Mrs. Norris was the nurse at our doctor’s office. She was a dignified older lady with gray hair and a starched white uniform and cap. I have no problem with young capless nurses in scrubs. I’m just saying…

I had to see an ENT (“otolaryngologist” is too difficult to spell again) a few years back and I would have wrongly guessed he was still in medical school. He was a really young guy but he knew his stuff, by golly, and in a short time I was healed!

Car salesmen always used to be old guys, too. The last car salesman I dealt with was a recent college graduate. Nice kid, though. He explained all the new electronic stuff on the car. Anymore you need a “New Cars for Dummies” book instead of the operator’s manual.

Come to think of it, I haven’t had a car salesman call me “Sonny” or “Buddy” for years.

At church last Sunday the guy in the pulpit was younger than my son. Our young pastor is good; he has great insights, is an excellent preacher and has an amazing knowledge of the Bible. My question: how did someone that young get so good so quickly?

Not so long ago, it seems, wait staff was female and, usually, older than me. When I began drinking coffee at the M&M Café my coffee was often poured by a sweet middle-aged waitress named Velma who knew my name. At the coffee shops here in the city these days I am waited on at the counter by a young person (often a guy) who calls me “Sir.” These young folks are usually pleasant, polite and professional but they don’t call me by name like Velma did.

Speaking of coffee shops, please allow me a moment of digression. At the M&M they just served coffee. Plain coffee. Today’s coffee shops offer several varieties and flavors of coffee, all of which have exotic names. If I don’t see just plain coffee on the menu board, I ask for a cup of “just plain coffee” and the barista knows what I want. I still have to choose between light roast and dark roast and just plain coffee costs as much as the exotically named coffee. Velma’s just plain coffee was a dime a cup and that included refills.

Back to the subject at hand ̶ by this time in my life I take a few prescription drugs each day. It doesn’t seem all that long ago when the local pharmacist, who I seldom needed to see, was an old guy with a mustache with a pair of reading glasses resting on the end of his nose and who was smartly attired in a crisp, white smock. Where I get my meds these days there are several folks behind the counter but only one who looks older than 25. Doggone it, though, they are all sharp as a tack and get my prescription straight every time.

All these changes would be more disconcerting if the young folks weren’t so good at what they do. The fact is, despite all the babble to the contrary my generation is handing off our society to an intelligent bunch. They may do things differently than my generation did and, frankly, that’s probably good.

I figure I’m doing pretty well for someone who was born before the Internet. My advice to my fellow senior citizens: don’t let aging get you down. It’s too hard to get back up.

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