Getting older, and I'm OK with that


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By Reggie Ponder

Thursday, October 18, 2018

I turned 55 last Saturday and I didn’t really feel any older than I did the day before.

I say that only because it’s something people say. I’ve never really understood the point of declaring that one does not feel significantly older as the result of a particular birthday.

After all, we age one day at a time, and it happens so slowly that we shouldn’t expect to notice it while it’s happening.

Then again, I definitely feel older than I used to. That’s because I am, of course, but I think I also have come to terms in recent years with the reality that I am getting older and that it has a real effect on my life.

The effect is not especially onerous, I should add. While there are health challenges that naturally come with age, I have held out pretty well so far. I still can do most of the activities I enjoy. Swimming, in particular, is as enjoyable now as it ever has been.

I don’t consider myself old but I do at least feel grown.

I suppose I have been grown for 35 years or more but in my 20s, and even in my 30s in some ways, I still felt young in both positive and negative ways. It seemed to me that a lot of folks treated me like I wasn’t old enough to know anything, though looking back I suspect that was mostly in my own mind.

Most of the time in my 30s, and even into my 40s, I had this nagging sense that I didn’t know what I was doing.

I’ve at least gotten over that.

I realize I stand in need of improvement the way we all do, but I no longer doubt my basic competence. When I need to write an article, or cook something, or approach most any challenge that arises, I know how to start and have a basic notion of how to proceed.

I would be tempted to say I’m middle-aged, but I don’t really expect to live to 110 so I suppose I’m headed toward old even if I’m not quite there yet.

Best of all, I’m reasonably content with my life. I’m married to the only person I can imagine myself being married to and am able to do the work that I enjoy.

I love my son and have friends who treat me better than I deserve on a regular basis.

There are practical benefits that come with turning 55, too. I’m talking about discounts.

I’m trying to age gracefully. I try not to ask younger colleague Jon Hawley what “the young people” think about this or that too often, because I realize he’s not entirely comfortable being a spokesman for his generation.

I’m certainly not a spokesman for my generation, either, but I’ll say this: We’re doing OK, considering.

 Reggie Ponder is a staff writer for The Daily Advance.