For some reason, I have recently had several people ask me about how old I am. Every time I try to answer that question, I find myself wondering how I got this old this fast. And then I find myself wondering about how old is old. So, I have spent some time thinking through this and have come up with a couple of items that might help all of us come to grips with just how old we really are.
My first example, has to do with being offered the senior citizen discount at a fast food place. The first time that happened to me, both of my sons were with me. For some reason, they thought that was the funniest thing they have ever heard. But when I reminded them that they were broke and I was buying lunch they settled down a bit. And, no, I didn’t accept the senior citizen discount.
But here’s what I came up with. If you are offended when someone offers you a senior citizen discount, you probably haven’t reached the age of old. If you are a tad bit ashamed but accept the senior citizen discount, you are at least on the verge of old. If you ask the person to repeat what he said and then yell, “Yes and so is my wife,” you may have past old several years ago.
My second example of knowing when you are old has to do with stairs. Every age group seems to approach maneuvering stairs a little differently. A baby, for example, will do his best to crawl up one stair at a time until some distracted adult realizes what is happening, screams and makes a mad dash to rescue the baby from the perils of stair climbing. Of course, a startled baby makes a poor stair climber. So, this seldom works out well.
Older children, on the other hand, will often try to run up the stairs. Teenagers, typically try to see how many stairs they can cover in one gigantic step. This works particularly well if the person is headed down the stairs. Young adults usually take the stairs at a pretty fast pace.
But somewhere along the line, those young adults become older, and older adults find themselves holding on to the rail not because they need to but because they just want to. Before long, however, they are hanging on tightly, somewhat desperately, trying to find the strength to take one more step.
At some point all of that changes. Now the senior adult either buckles into a stair master and glides effortlessly to either the bottom or the top. If no stair master is available, it is not uncommon to see a senior adult staring at an elevator trying to decide if the contraption can be trusted. And, sooner or later, you will see a senior adult staring at the stairs trying to decide if he was going to go get something or drop something off and then turn and shuffle off to the television to watch another episode of Gunsmoke on INSP.
So, where am I on this spectrum? Well, I seldom jump the stairs unless there is a snake involved. I seldom run the stairs unless there is bacon involved. I seldom use the rail unless the stairs are slippery. I don’t use the stair master, but I think it would be cool to use one if you could control the speed. I have, once or twice, started off somewhere only to forget what I was going for. And I always enjoy a good episode of Gunsmoke, especially if it is in black and white, which is the way God always intended for it to be.
I guess the truth is I am getting older. If you are reading this, you are too. Maybe the point is not how old I am but how I am using the time the Lord has given me. There will always be obstacles and increasing moments of forgetfulness, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the time you have to make a positive difference in the lives of those around you.