Looking back over the years, I remember the various “major birthdays” that I would celebrate with friends. At 21, you meet up with friends at a bar at midnight, so that you can legally drink within minutes of hitting that milestone. Then, “the big 3-0” rolls around and you think you’re old, but you’re actually just warming up. 40th surprise birthday parties were big in my social circle back in the day. I remember one friend who turned 40 and his wife hired a stripper for him. Not a nude thing, just a skimpy, sexy dance….in front of him….as he sat by his living room window…..so that people driving through our neighborhood looking at Christmas lights had to explain to their kids why that woman was dancing in the window. But I digress….
50 is when you start thinking to yourself, “Huh. I really am getting old” and your body begins to give you sneak previews of the falling apart yet to come. Needless to say, the next decade mark I’m facing is the 60 plateau, although I have a couple of years to go. However, we have friends that are hitting that mark and this past Saturday, we were invited to one’s party at the Edmonds Senior Center.
Now, it just so happened that a boating club she once belonged to used the Senior Center for activities and so, friends were invited to celebrate at this function, complete with live band. But that’s when it hit me really hard, as I found myself surrounded by reality.
In the old days, I would dance to music from the 60s and 70s. That night, I found myself dancing with people in their 60s and 70s.
As I sat there listening to a lounge group version of “We are family” (complete with drum machine and instruments being played that were not seen) I remembered my party-heartier days. There was Chip Davis’ graduation party at the UW, where everyone was asked to bring a bottle of tequila. The next day, the tequila was all gone and people were passed out throughout the house. I’m told we had a great time.
There were keggers and house-warmings and fund-raising drinkfests. I was young. I was rowdy!
But now, here I am: sitting on a Saturday night, at a senior center, listening to a guitar solo by a guy wearing a really bad toupee.
There was a time I did radio marathon broadcasts and literally stayed on the air for 28 consecutive hours, to raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation. I hosted River Floats down the Yakima River, with hundreds of people, floating along, drinking beer and having a great time. I did the Seafair thing. The Opening Day of Boating Season Booze-fest.
But this night, I was watching the singer in the middle hitting a cowbell, but hearing more clanks than she was hitting. Yep, pre-recorded.
I had fun dancing with my wife, but I just didn’t want to get comfortable in these surroundings. Not yet, anyway.
I’ll wear the badge of grandpa proudly, but I’m not ready to move into a world where people believe this is as good as it gets.
Nope. I’m not ready for this.
We’re all with you, Tim! It’s not getting old that sucks, it’s the reality of it happening that sucks. Of course, we must never accept it until forced to. Great read!