Take A Mulligan: The Big 7-0

Here is the $64,000 question. Just exactly how old is old? In my teens, I figured it was about 35 but when I was getting close to that age, it seemed fairly young, but 50 definitely was old. No doubt about that.

Fifty for sure, until I got there. Yeah, not as good a third baseman anymore but old at 50.

Nah, it’s gotta be around 60.

For sure 60 years old is close to antique. At sixty you’ve climbed the hill, reached the pinnacle and are now on the downward spiral of that same hill.

Having trouble getting out of bed, cramps in places you didn’t know you even had, getting out of breath brushing your teeth and perhaps even having less teeth now. Yepper, 60 most assuredly is old.

But then I got to 60. It’s not that bad. Survived my daughter’s teen-age years! No easy task there for sure.

I think that’s when my hair grew thinner and thinner and thinner. It’s not thin anymore, it’s just plain gone, gone, gone.

Nope, 60 is not old at all. It’s a comfortable age. Hair’s thinner, waist thicker, gait’s slower, memory’s ok if I can remember my daughter’s names correctly on the first stab at it.

Used to remember all of their birthdays, but I just concentrate on the month now. Working on not forgetting Deb’s birthday.

So we’re all agreed, 60 is not old.

But 70. Today I hit number 70.

Now, 70 is old don’t you think? Retirement’s kicked in.

So has Medicare, special senior citizen deals and all kinds of new pills, doctors and specialists. Eighteen holes of golf in a golf cart is a hard day of work anymore, especially the way I play. But now that I’m 70, I really don’t think it is old at all. Older maybe, but not really old, old.

I did get worn out the other day watching a baseball game, but that doesn’t mean I’m old. Just tired.

Speaking of old, Deb and I last week had lunch with a couple of 1969 classmates; Jim & Naomi and Tom & Mary Jane.

We had a great time reminiscing about our high school days. Perhaps even a few of the stories were true. We greatly enjoyed the visit. Fifty-plus years out of high school.

But hey, that’s not old, is it?

Here are some of my thoughts on getting old:

I’m now on not one but two diets. I wasn’t getting enough food on just one.

I miss the good old days when bread was good for you and no one even heard of kale or gluten yet.

I used to worry about where I should park my car. Now I wonder where I parked.

I told Deb, I’m not really old, I’m now a classic.

I grew up when there used to be cigarette commercials on TV. Would you “rather fight than switch?”

In high school back in 1969, we actually had school dances, held in the school gym.

The F-word hadn’t been invented yet.

Do you remember those great drive-in movie theaters? Five Godzilla-type movies in a row!

Families had “secret” family long-distance call codes to let you know you got there safely. At least our family did.

At age 20, I worried about what people thought about me; at 50, I didn’t care what people thought and now at 70, I realized no one thought about me at all.

We used to put tin foil on our TV antennas. Don’t think it helped but you thought it did.

And finally some days I absolutely amaze myself with how wise I am; other days I’m looking for my phone while talking on it.

Last week to celebrate my birthday early, Deb asked me where I wanted to eat. I said I’d like to go to one of those places where they make the food right in front of you. I thought that would be so nice. So she took me to Subway.

Oh, by the way, I am now thinking 80 is old, maybe 85. But not 70.

Let me know what you think old is at jsheda@indytel.com or call me at 319-327-4640.

John Sheda is the pastor at Living Water Church in Independence. He is a native of Chelsea and a South Tama County alumni (Class of 1969).