Friday, January 21, 2011

The annual increasing number

Stamvei 52

This year it rolled over to 52. I have no idea how it did that. Today my sister rang me for my birthday and asked, absent mindedly (she is older than me…), “So, how old are you now, 31?” I answered truthfully, then added: “But 31 works better for me.” And, it does.

This is nothing new: I’ve always had a disconnect between the age I am and the age I feel inside, moving from one direction to the other. When I was in high school, I felt much older and it frustrated me that adults treated me like just another teenager. Sometime not long after university, my real age caught up with my perceived age—but it kept on going and my perceived age didn’t.

I don’t know what age I now “feel”, apart from younger than I actually am. That could be a simple, “Wait, what? I can’t possibly be that old! Last thing I remember, I was celebrating my 30th!” And there’s truth in that.

But there’s also truth in my knees that are somewhat less reliable than at chronological 30, or my stamina, never great, that seems a shadow of what it was at 25. Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder who IS that old guy staring back at me? Some hair dye usually fixes that.

I became a “bottle baby” (old gay slang for a gay man who dyes his hair), originally, so I could better compete with the younger people in my industry and now I do it simply so my outside is a better match with my inside. I see no reason why I should look older than I feel when something so simple can help fix that. There will come a point, I know, when it’ll be more than faintly ridiculous to continue to present how old I feel rather than how old I am, but that day is not today.

I’m actually, in a weird way, looking forward to being to being the kindly and wise old guy who offers support and encouragement and continues to revel in the new. I’d love to be the nonagenarian so enraptured with new technology that the news puts him on as an item of curiosity. But that, too—fortunately—is not today.

Right now, I’m just 52, an age of no particular importance. Inside, well, I feel much younger. One day, the two will probably merge again. That’ll be when you can watch for me on the evening news as the old guy using and loving the latest cool technology. But you’ll have to wait some four decades for that. I’m fine with that.

For the record, I had a nice birthday: I relaxed during the day and then Nigel took me out for dinner. It was a very good day.


Roger Owen Green said...

Well, happy birthday, Arthur.

I've been losing my hair and graying for so long that I've ceased to care.

The trouble I had with those non-round numbered birthdays is remembering how old I was. Don't know if you played cards, but 52 is the number of cards in a standard card deck, sans jokers. n

Arthur Schenck said...

Thanks, Roger.

I think I'M the joker in the deck, but that aside, I can always remember the ones digit of my age because it's one higher than the year (except for the first 3 weeks of the year). Trouble is, I sometimes forget the decade part, probably because there are now quite a few of them…

amerinz's sis said...

Just think...When you're an old man you'll get to brag about your age all over again - just like when you were very young. :>) Neat how the young and old get to share this celebration!! The in-between years are tough.

Glad you had a nice birthday!

d said...

Happy Birthday, Arthur! I have to admit, when I read this post, I thought "no way in HELL is Arthur 52!". So, yeah, add me and Darren to the list of people who think/feel you are way younger than your actual age. =)

seawall said...

I have friends and acquaintances across a broad range of ages, in various fields and lifestyles, and the thing I admire about most of them is that regardless of their demographic, they haven't calcified in their way of thinking or viewing the world; and short of dementia caused by extremely advanced age, I think they'll all keep their minds as flexible and engaged for years to come.

Arthur Schenck said...

Sis: True, but I'm certainly not in any hurry to be old!

D: Aw, that's just about the nicest thing anyone said to me this year! Thanks!! :-)

Seawall: I've always thought of life as an adventure made up of adventures, big and small. So it's hard NOT to be interested in a lot things and people. Hopefully, that'll keep me young and un-calcified!