Last year I wrote a blog about the different ways we all measure our age. I thought about the issue again over the weekend while watching The Masters.
I’m not presently a golfer. I’ve taken a few lessons and it has been on my “someday” list for a while, but I’ve watched The Masters for years. It’s another sign of spring for me, like Opening Day for the Red Sox (but I don’t want to talk about THAT right now). I realized I’ve been watching this competition for a while when I saw Fred Couples with white hair (wait…he’s younger than me?) and that some of the other golfers I’ve thought of as top golfers – Ernie Els and Vijay Singh – didn’t make the cut to play Saturday and Sunday. I was still routing for Tiger, despite his personal troubles, but I recognized that seeing Tiger near the top was no longer a given; he had to play a great final round to be there. The announcers said that the young golfers at the top of the leader board had watched Tiger win at 21 (wait…was it that long ago?), and this year’s winner, Charl Schwartzel, was shown around the course by…Ernie Els, thus passing on the mantle to a younger South African. The next generation of golfers has officially taken over. Another way to measure my own age is to watch new generations of athletes. Of course, the age threshold for athletes is much different than for the rest of us, but it makes me aware of time going by.
I waited on a customer in the garden department the other day (and loaded his bags of soil and mulch into his trunk) as he told me “I’m old…I’m 64.” I told him he didn’t look old, but he clearly thought he was. He continued, “I live in an over-55 community now and I have short-term memory problems.” I laughed. “I hear you on that!” I said, trying to make him feel better. I had to think after he left – he’s not old… old is 80s – isn’t it?
There are plenty of people who look at me and won’t let me load their mulch. I know they’re thinking I’m too old to do it, but I can’t think that, or I will be. My husband and I used to be work horses when it came to yard work: we would rake, edge, mulch, trim bushes – you name it and we would do it, after we had gone for a run! Yesterday, after walking a couple of miles, we did yard work for a few hours. I was tired, but I wouldn’t quit. My husband went inside to fix dinner; I stepped in a hole and fell. Luckily I did not sprain my ankle, but it scared me enough to send me inside. I told him, “I’m not allowed to do yard work alone anymore.” There’s a fine line between not acting your age, and being stubborn and silly. I guess it’s time I recognize that.