The Old Coot is a ‘fake’ 80

I want to say, “I’m 80!” Do I wish I were 80? Not exactly, but at 78, I’m at that awkward age – two years to go to the next decade; it feels like being in my “terrible twos” in reverse – an age of stubborn, obstinate, uncompromising behavior. I expect, at eighty, to be mellower – four score years old, an Octogenarian, eight decades on the planet, a respected elder. 

I have two years of no man’s land ahead, just another old guy stumbling along and mumbling to himself, getting no respect. When asked how old I am, I usually reply, “Eighty minus two.” I get that eighty out there; it helps get me that, “Wow, you don’t look that old.” Lie or not, it’s good to hear. Tossing the eighty into the mix helps evoke it. It also helps that I still have hair on my head and that I don’t belt my pants halfway up my chest. 

You go through life, at least I did, in dread of entering the next decade. Turning 30 shocked me more than any other; I slid into my 40’s, 50’s and 60’s with only a day or so with a grimace on my face. Seventy was a surprise, nothing like turning thirty, but it did shock me a bit. It seems like I just got started through the decade and all of a sudden, I’m 78, two years shy of the almighty eighty. It’s a decade that is passing faster than any of the others.  

I’m anticipating, that when I turn eighty, serenity will settle in. “I did it! I made it to the promised land.” That’s what I’ll tell myself. I’m not wishing away the next two years. I know they will slide by unnoticed, one lightning-fast day at a time. But, when I arrive at eighty, it will be with open arms. Like greeting a long-lost friend. But that’s about another 100 articles away. I better get cracking.

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