Getting Old

There’s no manual.

You can sign up for Jenny Craig, you can go to the gym. You can read TMZ.

But you’re still old on the inside.

I just can’t get into “Girls.”

Then I realized, I’m too old. I’m not lost in my twenties, looking for love, a career and stability. I’ve found who I am. I may or may not like me, but I’ve got to accept me. Whereas when you’re young and dumb the world is your oyster, your dream is to conquer it. And then you get old enough to realize it’s not only beyond your grasp, it’s beyond anybody’s grasp, you’re gonna be here, then be gone and be forgotten, so you might as well enjoy the ride.

But it’s not only “Girls,” it’s those preview issues of magazines and newspapers. Where they delineate all the films, TV shows and records coming down the pike. I can wait until the hoi polloi sift through them and tell me what’s good. I’ve lived long enough to be resistant to the hype.

And I don’t need it now either. The films I want to see are gone from the theatre before I can get it together and the rest… I can wait for VOD, DVD and pay cable. Then again, I don’t watch them there either. I could argue because they don’t define the zeitgeist, but getting older you realize you are the zeitgeist. You’re the star of your own movie.

And new things… As a kid something four years old is an antique. I’ve got a Kindle 2 in a world of Paperwhites and iPads. But it works! That’s enough. I mean if there’s something better, I’m all over it. Then again, I still remember the days when tech didn’t work. When the electric windows in your Cadillac broke before the car itself expired. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that something brand new has all the kinks worked out. And I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that you might as well overpay for the first iteration, because then you’ll get to use it. You can’t have that time back. It’s not worth denying yourself.

By the same token everything important to me will be thrown out by my heirs. My mother already threw out my baseball cards, which would probably pay for a year’s worth of college. My curated vinyl record collection? Straight to the dumper! It means everything to me, but almost nothing to anybody else.

And when you’re young everything is so dear. If it gets broken or stolen your life will end. Get old and you realize you’ll just replace it. You won’t be happy, but it’s a minor hassle.

And then there are the aches and pains. You do read about these. How you wake up and that’s as good as you’re gonna feel all day. But they don’t tell you that everybody is born broken, with a time bomb inside, and some of those you love most, who lived the healthiest of lives, will be kicked to the curb by fate and fade into memory. Then again, those who take their own lives live front and center in our brains for eons. If you decide to leave, we can’t forget you, why is that?

And no one tells you your opinion won’t count. That having lived for decades, through the last century, suddenly you’re dumb and inexperienced. You get happier as you get older, who’d want to be younger? Then again, all the boomers are chasing the fountain of youth, they won’t accept that the best plan is to kick back and enjoy the ride.

And time… When did they stop making less of it? Sunday night, you realize your entire week is shot. You don’t have time to do everything you want and you’re only interested in that which satiates.

Meanwhile, society bombards you with messages of inadequacy. You’re too old, too fat, too poor, irrelevant. But that’s not how you feel. That’s how young people feel. Despite “Jersey Shore” and the glorification of adolescents, being young is fraught with despair. But you rarely read about it, otherwise the world would be topsy-turvy, old people would rule.

And they do. But they won’t accept their fate. They’re just pissed they’re not young.

And what’s up with the fascination with politics? It’s like getting your AARP card. You hit fifty and suddenly what’s happening in D.C. is utterly fascinating, whereas when you were young you barely looked at the paper, unless it was to read the sports scores or concert reviews. Now you read the Arts section last. You don’t care about most of the performers and the raw hype rubs you wrong.

That’s one thing that sucks about being old. The inability to turn off the spigot of hype. Buy this! See this! It’s the greatest! But you’ve been burned before. Again and again and again.

And there’s no self-respect. It can be the best football game of the year but the TV network is still hyping some lame sitcom that will fail in weeks, they’ve even got the announcer saying how great it is.

And then there are people like Rupert Murdoch, who don’t realize they’re not going to live forever. That’s the great leveler, death.

So I don’t know what oldster art looks like. Those healthy enough to make it are not angsting in love, they’re more worried about their retirement account. And if you tackle an adult subject, you can’t get financing, the young ‘un at the studio can’t relate and believes there’s no audience. And the potential audience is so wrapped up in its lifestyle, so resistant to hype, that whatever penetrates does so slowly, and media doesn’t care about that which is not immediate.

But, once again, being old is great. Except for the health issues. You know the game, you can suss out the b.s., you waste so much less time.

But you’re an outsider. They don’t want you on the field and they don’t want to give you any ink.

But life is grand.

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