Senior Moments

Senior moments carved in stone. (Photo take by me at the National Art Museum of Catalonia.)
Senior moments carved in stone. (Photo take by me at the National Art Museum of Catalonia.)

I’ve reached the point in my life where I’m comfortable with being classified as a “senior.” Considering that my birth was more than 69 years ago, I accept that being a senior is better than the alternative. Namely, being dead. Although, there are senior moments when I’m less than completely certain about that. (Then again, all of my moments are now senior moments, whatever that means. So, there’s that.)

Years ago, not long after I turned 55, I was on a road trip with some relatives. We stopped for lunch at a Denny’s near the highway. Denny’s listed the item I wanted in the seniors’ section of its menu. They classified seniors as 55 and up, so I qualified. Nevertheless, I seriously thought about ordering my second choice because I was not ready to admit—to myself or to anyone else—that I was a senior by any stretch of the imagination.

Despite my great trepidation, I ordered what I wanted. The server heightened my depression over my senior status by not asking me for proof of age. The least she could have done was pretend that I didn’t look 55 yet. Would that have been too much to ask?

That sort of thing doesn’t bother me anymore. I always insist on my seniors’ discount wherever it’s offered. And I no longer feel hurt if a clerk gives it to me when I forget to ask for it, even when the cutoff is 65 rather than 55.

In fact, I now roll my eyes when a cashier or server asks if I’m a senior. When that happens, I usually point to my head-full of grey hair and say something grandiosely eloquent like, “duh.”

If they say something to the effect of, “you don’t look that old,” I roll my eyes hard enough to raise my blood pressure significantly. And I respond either in my head or out loud with, “I know you’re lying. You know you’re lying. Thank you for being such an abject liar. It’s kind despite being totally insincere.”

Aging Thoughts

I said above that I’m comfortable with being classified as a senior. It’s not that I don’t think about aging. I think about it a lot, as evidenced by the multiple posts about aging in this sparse, intermittent blog.

I should point out that, when I say “comfortable,” I’m talking emotionally comfortable, not necessarily physically comfortable. I’ve noticed that I can’t walk quite as fast as I used to be able to walk. Furthermore, I’m not totally thrilled with the noises I often feel unconsciously impelled to make whenever I sit down or stand up. And let’s not even talk about my gas issue or, for that matter, my prostate.

It’s just that I now accept and sometimes, such as when I get a seniors’ discount, even relish being pigeonholed in the “seniors” box on the demographic chart. I realize that it’s a box I’ll remain in until my remains go into a physical box, an urn, a seldom-visited ravine, a dumpster, or wherever. So, I’m happy with the senior’s classification as opposed to, say, the death classification.

Senior Moments in Action

I rambled a bit above, didn’t I? Sorry about that. The truth is, I forgot where I was going with it. I hoped that if I prattled on for a while it would come back to me. It didn’t.

Some people refer to those sorts of circumstances as “senior moments.” But I don’t think that’s necessarily what it is. It used to happen to me from time to time even in my youth. I’d go off on a tangential train of thought, with no hope that the new track would ever lead me to my intended destination. Then I’d get lost completely and not be able to return to my original thought.

I think it happens to me more often now than it used to. But I’m not sure. I can’t remember how often it happened before. So, who knows?

Sometimes, when I get lost on a diverted train of thought, I spend considerable time trying to remember where my cognitive journey started, where it when off the rails, and in which direction I wanted to go. That, for lack of a better word, “thought” process typically consumed an inordinate amount of time. That hasn’t changed over the years. The difference is that, now, I’m retired. I have plenty of time to waste. So, who cares?

Speaking about going off on a tangent, what was I talking about?

Oh, yeah. Aging.

Time Remaining

I rarely thought about aging when I was younger. But now that I’m in the thick of it, I think about it a lot. Being comfortable with being referred to as a senior isn’t the same thing as not worrying about its consequences.

If my beliefs are correct, death is emptiness. Not having had much of a life as it is, emptiness shouldn’t scare me. But I’d be a liar if I said it didn’t. On the bright side, though, I’m confident that, after I die, I won’t care a whit about my death. So, I have that to cheer me up.

It’s only natural that I should think about death more now than, say, when I was a toddler. Then, I didn’t have much time to think about aging. I was too busy fretting over when my parents would give me my next meal. I was a chubby child. There’s a reason for that. But, I digressed again, didn’t I?

Now, however, barring me beating the male longevity record by several years, I’m much closer to my death than to my birth. On a recorded-history timescale, my death is not much more than an instant away. On a geological timescale, I’m very much having a near-death experience. And on an astronomical timescale, I’m as good as dead already. Or is that as bad as dead?

On the other hand, a cloying optimist might reply that on a fruit-fly-lifespan timescale, I still have several lifetimes to live. A sentient fruit fly would read this and chastise me in a reply, telling me to stop being so self-pityingly glum and enjoy the excessively long life I still have ahead of me. And I could make a killing selling access to the posted reply from a sentient fruit fly. Maybe we could form a short-term partnership to take its words to market for the few days, if that, it may have left. So, I’m kind of hoping that happens.

Then again, you never know. I could die within an hour of publishing this. Then what would that damn fruit fly have to say for itself? It would look like a damned fool, wouldn’t it?

Wait. How did fruit flies enter this discourse? That was silly. Sorry about that.

Where Was I?

Now, where was I? I believe it was something about old people who lose their way. Or something like that.

But I still can’t remember the point I wanted to end up at in this discussion. I think it had something to do with personal beliefs. Or maybe Paddington Bear. Possibly paid benefits. I don’t know. I can’t remember. I’m pretty sure that it had a “p” and a “b” in it. It could have been something to do with peanut butter. But probably not. And I might be entirely wrong about the “p” and “b.” Maybe it was “q” and “c.” Or possibly some other letters.

Never mind. It likely wasn’t anything consequential. I’d spend more time trying to remember, but there’s probably a store somewhere that has a Seniors Day today. I don’t want to miss out on my discount. So, I’ve got to run. See ya.

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