Older but not wiser
I had a birthday this week so I’m now officially older and wiser … theoretically. I turned 58, so I am definitely older but I’m not too sure I’m any wiser. I used to think that by the time I got this old that life would finally make sense to me and I would have gained some insight into the great mysteries of life. Maybe I’m a slow learner but that hasn’t happened.
When I took a moment to really think about what growing older has taught me, I realized that I can break my understanding of life into three basic categories; Things I used to know, things I’ve learned and things that are still a mystery to me.
I knew a lot of things when I was younger; I knew that caution was for sissies and old guys, that men only got their hair cut barbershops and that a even a broken clock was right twice a day.
I was certain that Japanese cars were for people who couldn’t afford a real American car from Detroit. I knew that there was no such thing as a cool country song and that if I ever decided to settle down with one woman that she would be lucky because I knew how to treat a lady!
I knew that Oswald shot JFK, Nixon was a crook and after building a station on the moon, we’d launch manned missions to Mars. I was certain that ordering stuff through the mail was for chumps because real business was done in a store made of bricks and mortar, and I couldn’t go wrong investing in real estate.
Over the years I’ve learned that sometimes it makes sense to look before you leap. You can call me old or even wimpy, but after several emergency room visits, a couple of chipped teeth, a more than a few broken relationships and near financial ruin, I’m more apt to check how deep the water is before I take the plunge these days.
I haven’t been in a real old fashion barbershop in years. When I got my hair cut last month, I made an appointment at a “salon” and there were some ladies getting a manicure and eyelash extensions across the room while I got my trim. It’s like that now and a broken digital clock is never right.
I own three Toyotas, and they are all great vehicles; Two of them were made in the United States and the other was assembled in Canada. Jimmy Buffett and Brad Paisley both record some pretty cool country songs, and I’m amazed that I have managed to stay married all of these years because I clearly have no idea how to treat a woman.
I’ve learned that the Warren Commission was pure fiction, Nixon’s crimes were minor league stuff compared to the shenanigans pulled by his successors, and we can barely afford to have our astronauts hitch a ride to the International Space Station these days. Amazon and E-Bay have rendered shopping malls as a refuge for kiosks selling over-priced cell phone covers and pretty much everything I’ve invested in has gone wrong.
As I start my 59th year, there are so many things still a mystery to me. I know that there are times to throw caution to the wind and times to carefully consider my options but telling those times apart is still a mystery to me. I’m almost 60 and I still think when I should act and act when I should think. Being wrong has become a lifestyle.
Women are a complete mystery because it turns out there is no right way to treat a woman. They’re like freakin’ snowflakes; they’re individuals with unique needs, wants and emotions …so many emotions! Who knew?
For the rest of my life, I’ll be closer to 116 than birth, and life still holds a lot of mystery for me. There was a time that would have really bothered me but not anymore. Just think how boring life would be if we knew all the answers; given my track record for slow learning, I doubt I’ll ever be bored.
Even now that I’m older, life’s mysteries continue to evade me. It seems to me that mysteries are what make life fun … wait … that almost sounded wise!
Rick Seley is an award-winning humor columnist. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.