Posted on a placard at the senior center: "Aging is not for sissies." As I am indeed aging, I will raise my right hand and unwaveringly attest to this certainty so boldly and simply stated. However, being a glass-is-half-full kind of guy, I also see some blessings brought forth by the years. The turning of the calendar has given me an understanding that emotions are the sophisticated seasonings of life; not the annoying distractions I sometimes misconstrued them to be in younger days. Friendships are more significant; the hug on the street of a long-held acquaintance is meaningful, not habitual. I can - and do - say, "I love you" to those of either gender that matter to me, without explanation or embarrassment. That alone might be worth the weight in years.
Overall, aging has tutored me not to "sweat the small stuff." More importantly, I can usually discern what is "small stuff" and release it. Please note, I said, "usually," not "always."
Case in point: I brush, floss, and tend to my teeth with such regularity, I astonish myself that I have time left to perform any other functions. Despite the excellent oral care regimen in which I engage, my dentist pointed out that I am plagued with "bad genetics." Oh jolly joy! Aren't I pleased! What this means is that whereby some can soak their teeth in sugar and honey without concern, I develop tooth decay by merely glancing at an image of candy.
So, as I - yet again - prepared to fill the coffers of my dentist, my inner immature child felt sorry for himself. He understands not, nor does he care about, all the poppycock of the "richness of emotion." Instead, he is full-blown redlining, on the verge of meltdown, major-level cranky. "Not fair!" he bellows, stomping his virtual feet hard upon my psyche.
Internally rages the dialogue twixt youth and understanding.
Shouts the youngster, "If we have to have to go to the dentist anyway, we might as well have some fun. Eat lots of chocolate! That'll make you feel better."
"It won't help," says wiser voice. "Buck up. Face it. We need to take care of ourselves."
"Let's not go," came the response. "After all, if the dentist didn't see the problem in the first place, we wouldn't be here."
Maturely speaking, this makes no sense. Yet, in the moment, facing sharp injections in my gums; whizzing, vibrating drills on my enamel; and the privilege of high costs for the pleasure; it rang slightly true. One could argue - technically - it WAS the dentist's fault, couldn't one? Yet, harming my diet would only hurt me; a more direct line of attack must be developed.
In the light of such understanding, my cantankerous inner child reached harmony with my perspicacious elder self. Instead of gooey sugary sweet things that would increase my waistline and do nothing to punish the dentist, I obstreperously devoured a garlic, onion, limburger cheese sandwich before entering his office.
As another sign proclaims, "Aging is inevitable; maturity is optional."