A person relies on a calendar for some important dates. For some, other indicators offer all the reminder a person needs.
Like that 10-minute walk that now takes 12 minutes. That’s a clue. Or the fact that the Thursday morning Team Lean weigh-in seems to arrive daily. Or the fact that your high school yearbook is full of kids’ pictures. Those are even more clues.
And once you start watching, the clues just seem to mount. You go to the open house at the arts center and you interview a 20-year-old arts student who’s excited about the possibilities of black-and-white, film photography. Just one week after you’ve accepted that the practicalities of digital photos might be worthwhile after all, you meet someone who associates film photos with a bygone time. You start to tell the story about photographing an avalanche, descending the snow-covered mountain, and having to wait 36 hours to see your photos. Then you realize that even you do not want the long version of that story. Yes, all that is a clue.
You tour a museum. You see a historic photo. You’re not sure, but maybe you’re the photographer.
Others are more subtle or gradual. After those late office hours, you’re looking for something mind-numbing on television. You ask about the remote control. Someone very close to your own age looks puzzled. So you ask for the flipper. That’s another clue.
Then you turn on the TV (you stopped saying “television set” weeks ago), and you scan for one of the newer shows. You’ve got Our Miss Brooks on VHS, so you’re holding out for Columbo. No luck. You stumble across I Love Lucy. Instinctively, you flip to higher and higher numbers.
You remember when everyone told you that you liked that show, and how hard you pretended to please them. But you only loved Lucy in the Ten Commandments sense, and so you respected the show. You keep flipping. You run out of numbers. You find Lucy again. And you give up and watch, and you find it so familiar. Ricky is still too controlling, and you hold him responsible for Lucy’s secretive ways. Lucy is still annoying. You wish she would tell Ricky that she’ll do whatever her adult mind dictates. She does not. You remember the commandments. Fred, though, maybe he’s a little funny after all. And then there’s the clincher. Ethel has a little spring in her step, doesn’t she? You shake your head. You vow never to tell a soul. “This must be an early episode.” The keeper of the remote control didn’t notice. You keep flipping.
But you no longer can pretend that the calendar is one giant typo. Maybe you really are approaching those golden years sooner than you had expected. And then you shake yourself back to your senses.
Everyone else in your yearbook is observing milestone birthdays. Well, at least the lucky ones are celebrating. But you have a better idea. You decide to ease into that date. At least, that works for me.
For several calendars, I have been in my early 50s. Today, I acknowledge that I am in my mid-50s. And tomorrow, I acknowledge, I will be in my late 50s. And the next day, I freely acknowledge that I will be in my Super 50s.
Anyone who sends me a card with a different number will have their oversight forgiven. After all, it’s sort of a commandment.
And that night, when I pull my blanket over my shoulders and tap the remote control until I give up on finding The Fugitive, I’ll be a little more understanding of Ricky and friends. Folks of our age need to stick together.
Then I’ll wake up, report to weigh-in, burn a few dozen calendars, and head back to work.
The Super 50s are gonna be more fun than black-and-white film.