Sunday, April 27, 2008


I met up with two friends from high school for belated birthday beers at Chili's (let me say this right off the bat--if Chili's expects my business, they'd better get a decent selection of beer on tap!). We try to get together around our birthdays and a couple of times in the summer. I love these girls. We were good friends in junior high, not quite as good once we hit high school, drifted apart for about 15 years, found each other again, and it's evolved into this beer drinking that we do, when we can. Note that I called them girls. Some of you would call them something much more respectful (like you're supposed to do with your elders!).

And there's where my thoughts lie today. D is about 5 months older than me, and K is about 2 months younger. D has been married/divorced three times, and has a 20-something daughter. She has smoked for years, and isn't afraid to throw back the drinks. In school, she had probably the second largest set of breasts in our class. She still has a great shape, though a few pounds heavier than when she was 18. Hey--it happens, you whippersnappers! K doesn't smoke, but also was a happy drinker in her day. She's got a couple of boys in their 20s--I think one of them might be in his 30s (she started young). She's also divorced and remarried. Both of them has spent the past 30 years working in some form of government job, and have done quite well for themselves in that area. So Os, what are you getting at???

As we drank and caught up with each other, I spent alot of time looking at their faces. I was sort of saddened. Both of these very attractive women were showing their age. Not just laugh lines around the eyes, but the wrinkling of skin that comes with growing older. Lines that formed from years of stress and worry and joy and laughter. Wrinkles which belie their true age. The same look I remember of my grandmother (which both of them happen to be). Then I noticed their hands. Not the soft smooth hands of someone younger, but the hands of women who might very well have the onset of arthritis or bone degeneration. But hands that have seen both pain and happiness. I hate to say it, but they looked like women who had reached 50. Or at least what I always imagined "50" to look like. Still very attractive, but in that "whendidthathappen??" sort of way. I'm not being shallow here. Just stating the facts.

We didn't stay as long as we would have liked. We all had places to be later in the evening. But the first thing I did when I got home was run to the bathroom mirror to check to see if I had ignored my wrinkles, or if I didn't really have them. I guess one of the perks of being overweight is that wrinkles don't get to form early. I don't have them. And my fat pudgy hands don't look like an old man's. And I came to the conclusion that I'm aging quite gracefully, thank you! Yeah, my knees are shot, I'm overweight and my eyesight is on a downhill slope, but I don't look 50 (ok, 51). I don't feel 51. I certainly don't look/feel like I think 51 should. I cringe every time I read that someone in their 50s has died of "natural causes". There's nothing natural about that!

My hair might be gray, but it's all mine, and it's all there! Same with the teeth (at least the ones I still have...). Sure, certain body parts don't work the way they used to, but that's due in part to lack of use (feel free to assume which parts I might be referring to). When people try to guess my age, the most common answer is late 30s. I can live with that. Whether it's because I look that age to most, or if they're just being polite to an old guy, it doesn't matter. I like it. I'll take it.

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