As of this writing, I am a full 457 days away from turning 50 and, if you can’t tell by this advanced obsession, it is not sitting well with me. I never thought I would be the type to over-contemplate the aging process. After all, I consider myself a man of science. I understand aging and its role in the circle of life. But it does bring about an internal dialogue that I find particularly disturbing.
This is not a happy blog post. It is one full of angst, fear and trepidation. There is no “grab-the-bull-by-the-horns” pep talk here. Doom and gloom are the name of the game and the sky is indeed falling.
The featured photo here is from a site that allows you to age your face. I chose a 30 year aging for laughs but, instead of chuckles, I damn near cried hysterically. This is how I know that when the big 50 comes 457 days from now, my wife had better be equipped with a jumbo pack of Kleenex.
The picture disturbed me because I still remember the reckless little boy that ran the streets of Baltimore with hair that made me look like a feral child raised by wolves. I remember the high school boy overly concerned about pulling off a preppy look. And Joe “Black” the afrocentric, kente cloth wearing, Haki Madhubuti poem spewing rebel who was going topple the “man’s” social construct. I remember them with vivid detail. What has become of those Joes?
What does 50 have in store? How about 82? For more laughs (or torture) I calculated my life expectancy using the Social Security on-line calculator and discovered that, as of now, I can expect to live to be 82 years old. Not that I want to live that long. But it is only 33 more years or 396 months of remaining battery life. I need a plan to prepare myself for 50 457 days from now. What am I going to do to cling to my youth? Have I made a difference on matters of which I have some bearing? Am I prepared to survive another 20 years? What will be my quality of life? Do I spend my final years selfishly or helping others? Do I chase the kids off my lawn while wearing boxer shorts, black socks and slippers or do I let them play? Do I drive around for 30 minutes trying to find the closest parking spot that I can? I can not stop these thoughts from haunting me during the contemplative bathroom moments.
I don’t quite know what I am going to do but I do know what I am not going to do:
- I will not celebrate with a party. I don’t think I will be in the mood to celebrate the final third of my life with people that just want free booze and food.
- I will not color my hair. I can’t think of anything more desperate and artificial.
- I will not grow “mitties” or “moobies”. If I have to perform 200 push-ups per day to keep the chest tight, I will.
- I will not let my stomach eclipse the view of my shoes. I pay enough for them and needs see them.
- I will not accept the AARP card. I’ll hold off for as long as I can or until the deals are just too good to turn down.
- I will not stop having sex. Angela Lee…you can run but you can’t hide!
- I will not let my nose and ear hair grow to a length that can be braided.
- I will NOT wear dad jeans. Under any circumstances.
- I will NOT listen to classical music. These old ears will continue to rock out even if the volume has to be much lower than normal.
- I will NOT dine before 6 PM. That is lunch any way you slice it.
Fretting these things can’t be good though. I realize that it is quite natural to want to preserve your youth in the face of decrepitude. Perhaps my biggest fear has nothing to do with physically aging but grounded more in the fear that I will cease to be useful. Cease to be relevant. I do think about and fear all of these things during the quiet times. But then I think that the zombie apocalypse will be upon us before we know it and this worry will all be for naught. They will surely need my expertise and leadership then.