This week I turned 80. I actually considered myself at that milestone in May, when in 1942, my mother was three months “with child” and my kicking had begun, letting her know I was anxious to get going. In my mind I was six months old when I emerged on Nov. 15. Thus, this past May I started thinking of myself as an octogenarian, which was delightfully reinforced on Father’s Day when my wife, kids and grandkids executed a total surprise birthday at the Belva Lockwood Inn in the Village of Owego, N.Y., where I reside in a 217-year-old house – as creaky and cranky as myself.
At any rate, in May, infused with that reinforcement in July, I adopted an 80-year-old attitude – a trump card that I can play in fun and seriousness. It gains entry to many things – “Oops, I’m sorry, I’m eighty,” when I’ve stumbled into and knock over a display of mechanical toys in an antique store. That sort of thing. Along with special orders in restaurants and access to the children’s menu, where prices and portions are more suited to an octogenarian. (“I’m 80 and more like 8,” when it comes to dining out.)
I couldn’t do that stuff when I was in my 60’s or 70’s. Not even at 79. But now that the calendar matches my mental state, a new world has unfolded for me on my journey through time. I loved it when I submitted this article, # 1,001. I started writing as the Old Coot in 2002. My goal was to see if I could come up with an article every week, for a year. Look mom! I outdid myself!
I start an article with a “germ” of an idea, sit down with pen and paper and let my subconscious brain take over, often surprising myself with what it drags out. The process digs deep into the psyche and dregs up opinions I didn’t know I had. (A lot cheaper than lying on a couch in a psychiatrist’s office.)
So, now that I really am 80, and look back on all the stumbles it took to acquire a small source of wisdom, I’m just happy to still be in the game, in spite of traveling in a high mileage vehicle with over 27,000 days on the odometer. Mine, as everyone’s life, is a journey from ignorance to wisdom, if we only just get it when it stares us in the face instead of waiting until it slaps us up side the head. Thank you for reading.
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