Monday, May 20, 2019

You'd be a 64-year old man?

It’s inevitable going a day without looking at myself in the mirror.  I suppose it’s possible if I didn’t own a mirror and didn’t go anywhere near a mirror but it’s probably fair to say that all of us have at least one daily encounter.

And whether we consciously do it or not, most of us take a good hard look at what the mirror reveals.  For gracefully aging middle-aged men, it’s a reflection of, hopefully, a gracefully aging middle-aged man.  Despite, however, how gracefully aging it’s unfolding for us, the truth of the matter is if we look close enough and are honest, we see an old man in training.

Twenty-something plus years ago, I had a conversation with a client who was a newly crowned octogenarian.  I was probably in my late 40’s at the time.  He was a person full of life, still working, always exhibiting a joyful being and capable of making you laugh along with him.  

One day I asked him if when he was a young man, he had ever imagined being an 80-year old man.  He replied never in his wildest dreams.  Then, he shared a memory when he was a younger man, probably in his mid-30’s, working at a Naval shipyard, about having a thought while at work, that if he could only make it to his 50’s how he’d be grateful.

I recently asked my Mom the same question while at lunch to celebrate her 88th birthday.  Her answer was the same; she never ever thought that one day she'd be an 88-year old woman.

My guess is most of us don’t have these thoughts.  I’m not sure I have, even though that day, Gold willing, isn’t far away. 

Those who’ve read my reflections know one of my favorite expressions is that every man who looks in a mirror sees a 16-year-old kid.  It’s nothing more than a middle-aged man expression in jest, meant to have fun, a play on words, a figure of speech, an expression of hope for what I know isn’t possible. Yet, undoubtedly, it annoys some and this includes none other than Ms. Pierini Fitness.  

One day, about ten years ago, after I had again bellowed out my famous expression for the umpteenth time, she pleaded with me to get honest by reminding me that I was closer to my father’s age than being a 16-year old kid.  I did a little finger math and discovered she was correct.  While 30 years away from my father’s age, I was a whopping 38 years removed from this mythical 16-year-old kid character to whom I constantly refer.

To have the same reflective benefit that I’ve given others asking this rhetorical question, when next looking in the mirror, I’ll ask “Mr. Pierini Fitness, when you were a 16-year-old kid, did you ever imagine one day you’d be a 64-year old man?”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

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