The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Tom McDonald
Guest columnist 

Opinion: Older but not necessarily wiser


October 31, 2018

SANTA ROSA — Getting old sucks. At least that’s what I’ve heard.

OK, I’ll admit it. I’m getting there myself. I’m 62 years old — but I’ve always been about 10 years younger, in maturity, than my actual age.

In my teens, I rebelled against my peers; in my 20s, against my parents. I didn’t even start getting serious about life until my 30s, when I finally got married and started a family of my own. And while I was being a daddy to two young girls in my 40s, I had peers becoming grandparents. … I guess the only thing that explains my buying a newspaper in my 60s is the fact that I never quite grew up. I still embrace change and new adventures.

So I’m actually younger than my age. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The only problem with such delusional thinking is that, while my mind may stay young and foolish, my body has gone on ahead. Aches and pains are so common now that I find myself grunting just to get out of a chair.

Thankfully, however, I can still get around. Earlier this year I went to Washington, D.C., with my now all-grown-up family, and we did miles and miles of walking. Often, I led the way, going ahead of our group or getting sidetracked by a statue or memorial or something else that caught my eye.

When one of my daughters suggested they put me on a leash to make sure I didn’t run off and get lost, I realized our roles are reversing. Not only am I no longer in charge, but I can’t even deceive myself into thinking I’m in charge, like I did in the good old days.

The “good old days” — now there’s a silly old-man expression if there ever was one. The old days are only “good” because we choose to remember them that way. In reality, life was hard and not always right or good or just. We were just younger and clueless, and we viewed the world with greater enthusiasm, and all that skews an old person’s memories.

Of course, some things were better back in the old days. I would say that politics, business, work and morality were better back when us dinosaurs roamed the earth. Politics, because it was more civil. Business because it was local and personal. And work because it tended to be more single-task oriented and permanent.

As for morality, maybe that was stronger too back in the day. Right and wrong seemed so much clearer; we didn’t necessarily behave any better, but at least we had a moral compass that came out of our lessons at church, home and school.

Tom McDonald is editor of the New Mexico Community News Exchange. Contact him at: [email protected]


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