Age is relative

By Regena Handy

My husband recently did it again. He referred to something as what “old people” did or “old people” used to say. I laughed and reminded him (again) that we are the old people now.
You know what I mean, he said. And I do.
For age is relative, that’s a fact we can all agree on. Remember when you were a kid, how old the adults in your life seemed. I can recall my parents tut-tutting over someone who died—”but they were so young”—and now at my age of 60-plus, I am reminded of the truth of that statement.
But back then I wasn’t surprised at all when people in their thirties and forties died. Why not, they were old! But for those of us who are, well, let’s be kind and call it wiser now—old age keeps moving further and further away.
Which is surely illustrated by such remarks as those made by my husband’s Grandpa Al about a certain old man. Grandpa himself was 94 at the time. We grinned at one another and silently wondered just what age one had to be for classification as an old man.
Then there was my great-aunt who was looking at recent family pictures in which she was included. “My goodness,” she complained. “I look like I’m a hundred years old.” To which her daughter-in-law replied, “Well, Grandma, you are 96.”
As my husband and I have gotten older, we’ve had our share of reminders of aging. Such as the question from our oldest son when a small boy, as to whether we ever saw dinosaurs. And when our youngest one was learning about the American flag, he asked if I was alive when Betsy Ross made the first one.
Now there’s a little grandson who pinches at the extra flesh on my hands and arms and asks, “What’s that, MawMaw?” And I tell him that MawMaw is just old.
“You’re old?” he says. “I’m new.”
Yes. Yes, you are, darling child. Very, very new.
(Editor’s note: Regena Handy is a former county administrator who has always enjoyed writing. She says that while she may hold strong personal opinions, she does not plan “to address religion, politics or social issues.” Regena lives in Woolwine with her husband Jimmy, an award-winning bluegrass musician.)


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