Old

2 minute read

Old

2 minute read

The other day I was having a conversation with somebody who was in their early twenties. We were talking about music, and I mentioned some currently-popular artists, and casually said, “…and it’s funny that I like them so much, because I’m old.” They quickly jumped in with, “no, no! You’re not old! What are you talking about?” I think they thought I was upset or self-deprecating, referring to myself as old; in fact, I didn’t feel that way at all.

I understand how our society works, particularly in modern-day America. “Old” is often considered something bad, something out of touch, something to be avoided. I don’t see it that way.

My father died when he was 47, I was 21 at the time. He was one of the healthiest people I have ever known… until suddenly he wasn’t. The man that regularly went for runs, who rode his bike, who ate as much non-processed food as possible… that man suddenly became sick. He got sicker very quickly, and within a year had succumbed to brain cancer. He was 5 years younger than I am right now.
I often tell people that I’m “in bonus time”, which to me simply means that I have outlived my father, although I certainly never expected to. At 52 years old, I may have another 40 years left, or another 40 hours; life is uncertain and I understand that. I consider myself very fortunate to be in bonus time, and I think it’s okay to refer to myself as old. Hell, compared to my dad, I am very old.

I think I understand the societal impulse to assure somebody, “you’re not old! Not by a long shot!” I may be on the younger side of what is considered old, certainly now that life expectancy is increasing, but I simply don’t consider “old” to be bad. In fact, I think of it this way: the opposite of old isn’t young, the opposite of old is dead.

Although I do not fear death (I was dead for billions of years before I was born, and I didn’t seem to mind; why would I mind after my time here is over?), I am thankful for each day that I do have. Being old is kind of nice… and I think it’s better than the alternative.