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Gaining on the Golden Years

There are numerous signs that you’re getting old. Here are two that immediately come to mind: 1) When you hear sportscasters calling Brett Favre an old man who should hang it up for good … and it dawns on you that he’s three years younger than you. 2) When your 10-year-old daughter tans your hide in a video game.

To be honest with you, I don’t feel a day over 32. Maybe 33, but definitely not 33 and a half. I’m not graying … much. Physically, I’m about the same weight, wear the same pants size (note to the inventor of the expandable waistband: I love you) and my face isn’t showing as much wear and tear as you might think for a guy with two kids and a wife of more than a decade. Still, there have been some disturbing clues that hint at the fact that I may be aging more quickly than I suspected.

Consider …  

  • One of the 20-year-old interns in my office called me Mr. Klancnik last week. Then he had the nerve to follow that up with a “Yes, sir.” It was like a bullet to the ego. I guess that’s what I get for working on a college campus. I love the youthful atmosphere — right up until a student asks me, “What is this movie Animal House that you’re talking about?” or, “You were born in the ’60s?” or, better still, “Did you know my dad was born the same year as you?”
  • I found myself humming a familiar song the other day. Unfortunately, it was the “Viva Viagra” song that plays during almost every televised sporting event. Really, I don’t need the stuff. Not yet anyway. Really.
  • I now find myself in conversations with friends talking about the “good old days” of playing with G.I. Joes, electronic football and baseball cards. Geez, what’s next, reminiscing about how we walked to school in the snow?
  • I received some mail last week that included information about an organization of which I was previously unaware. Something called AARP.

Speaking of which, I visited a really nice retirement community. It was for work, but I couldn’t help but think about what my day might be like when I reach the Golden Years. No more pressures of budgets, upset customers or personnel “issues.” Nice. Then, as I watched several folks make their way around the lobby in their walkers, I overheard a conversation about a friend who had recently fallen and was in the hospital with a broken hip. I went back to work with a new perspective and a much better attitude. (I also worked out four times in two days and cut out sugary food for a week.)

Between the AARP invite and the view from inside the retirement home, age — specifically mine — has been on my mind a lot lately. Is my back sore because I played pick-up basketball a couple of days ago or because I’m getting arthritis? Did I go to the bathroom five times yesterday because my prostate is growing faster than the national debt or because I drank a gallon of water to stave off the 150-degree heat? Is my blood pressure rising because I’m selling media in this economy or because my heart is about to seize up any second?

Important questions, but I’m likely worrying for no reason. Age is just a state of mind — or at least so goes the cliché. I’m 43 and my state of mind is always in flux. I’m happy to be 43 because that’s the car number of my favorite NASCAR driver, Richard Petty. Petty is now 72.

OK, maybe I am getting old.