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How do you know when you’re old?

birthday cakeI recently had a birthday.  I was born in 1937, so you can do the math. The day before my birthday I got a phone call from my oldest (not by age, by how long we’ve known each other) friend here in Houston — a woman who knows pretty much everything about me, and I, her.  She wished me a Happy Birthday and we chatted awhile, then she said, “I have a question for you. How do you know when you’re old?”  I said, “Uh, I don’t know. How do you know when you’re old?”  She laughed.  “You know you’re old when your daughter calls you and says, “Mom, the weather is really nasty out today. You’d better not go out.”

So I guess we know we’re old when the roles reverse, when instead of cautioning your children about the weather or anything else, they begin cautioning you. That kind of makes me shudder, even though when Loretta said it, we both got a good laugh out of it.  Thing is, once this kind of thing starts happening, giving up the car keys can’t be far behind.

I’ve never been afraid to grow old, probably because my parents died in their sixties, and I’ve just been grateful to live longer. I still feel that way, but my body lets me know all the time that being in my late seventies is different from even five years ago when I was in my early seventies.

Discussing this age thing with one of my brothers-in-law during his happy birthday phone call, he told me about something Satchel Paige had once said.  If you don’t know who Satchel Paige is, you can find out all about him in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Anyway, at one point in Paige’s career he was told he was too old to play. He didn’t feel old and began to ask people this question: If you didn’t know how old you are, how old would you think you were?

Isn’t that a great question? Truthfully, I have never really felt much older inside than I did in my twenties or thirties. Oh, I know more, and I hope I use that knowledge well, but I still feel young inside. Maybe that’s why I’ve always been ready to try new things, whether my body wants to cooperate or not. 🙂

So. How old do you think you are?


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