The Older I Get

photo-17

I was seated at a crowded table in an otherwise empty Pizza Hut. It was loud. The music of Journey boomed through the speakers of the restaurant’s jukebox. It was hard for us to hear each other talk. But there was one sentence that came out loud and clear.

“Yes! They’re playing Journey. I love oldies.”

I grew up listening to Journey. The Four Tops are oldies. Music I grew up listening to is not oldies. I felt old.

It’s been over ten years since that jukebox conversation in Pizza Hut and now I really feel old. Not Someone-Get-Me-A-Life-Alert-Bracelet old or I-Could-Really-Use-One-Of-Those-Hoveround-Scooters old. More like, I-Can’t-Believe-That-You-Just-Called-A-Song-That-Came-Out-5-Years-After-I-Graduated-College-Old-School old.

I’m okay with that. I have no plans on coloring my hair, buying a Corvette and piercing my ear. Old is good. As long as you’re okay with change. And the older I get, the more I change.

The older I get, the less I care about what’s on TV. It’s taken me a few years of research to figure this out but I already know the answer to the question that almost every family asks at night. “What’s on TV?” Nothing. Nothing is on TV. Well, unless singing contests, shows about detectives, jobless people who live in nice New York City apartments and the wives of B List NBA players are your thing. In that case, you’ve got the world at your fingertips. I’d rather read a book.

The older I get, the more skeptical I am of any bill signed into law containing the words, affordable, patriot, Americans, unity, the, and, a or safety. Just to name a few. Typically, the law does the exact opposite of what it leads you to believe it will do when you read the name of the bill. For example, the Affordable Care Act makes it harder for you to afford to go to the doctor. The Patriot Act makes it easier for the government to act like bullies towards patriots. The only exceptions are bills containing the word safety. They usually do lead to a certain degree of safety. The same kind you would experience in solitary confinement. But who wants to be that safe? Don’t answer that question.

The older I get, the more I laugh at baseball. What other sport requires the coach to dress exactly like the players? Why does a grown man need to wear cleats just to sit down for three hours, only getting up to change pitchers or to kick dirt on the umpire? You can kick dirt in church socks and sandals just as easily as you can while wearing cleats. Thankfully, the coach dressing like the players tradition does not exist in the NBA. No one needs to see a 60-year-old man in baggy shorts.

The older I get, the smarter my dad gets. The things he was telling me five years ago were called conspiracy theories. Today they’re called, “in other news.” Here’s what I mean.

Five Years Ago:

“Son, be careful what you do with that phone. They can track you.”

“Whatever. And who’s ‘they’?”

Today:

“Action 4 News has learned that Lady Gaga plans on picking up her new dog later on this week. In other news, President Obama listened to your last twelve phone conversations and wants you to know that he’s coming over for dinner tonight. Hamburgers are his favorite!”

The older I get, the more I realize what true toughness really is. Watching your wife give birth helps with that sort of thing. Linebackers in the NFL have nothing on mothers. A lot of what we call tough is really just drug induced stupidity followed by a drug induced recuperation period. But child birth is real toughness. Raising that child into an adult requires even more toughness.

The older I get, the slower I get. Not because my body and mind are making me slow down. Not yet, at least. It’s my family. They’re the one’s slowing me down. When I’m in a hurry to leave in the morning there are dirty dishes left over from breakfast and kids that want to wrestle. I’m learning how to slow down and take care of things like that. I’ve been in some form of church ministry for almost 20 years. I’ve seen a lot of heartache. I’ve seen a man wish with all of his heart that his kid was still around wanting to wrestle. I’ve seen a man long for the days when there was more than just his own bowl to clean up after breakfast. I can’t slow down the clock but I can slow down my schedule.

The older I get, the more I appreciate a good guitar solo.

The older I get, the more I appreciate a singer with a voice that sounds like he’s been through his share of troubles as opposed to a singer with a voice that sounds like he sang into a computer.

The older I get, the happier I get. After 21, we usually don’t like having birthdays. This makes no sense. Each new day is another reason to celebrate God’s grace. I went to school with two kids who quit having birthdays when they were 13. One because of a wreck and the other because of suicide. Birthdays are good. I’m not 29 and holding. I’m getting close to 40. That means I’ve experienced almost four decades of God’s grace. Four more would be nice.

A few weeks ago I walked into a Pizza Hut. You could barely hear the music. There was no jukebox. I looked everywhere for one. For old time’s sake, I wanted to put in a dollar and play a few songs. I would have kept it current too. Maybe something from the Foo Fighters.

When my song came on the jukebox, someone would have shouted, “Yes! The Foo Fighters! I love the oldies.”

On second thought, I’m glad that there wasn’t a jukebox in that Pizza Hut.

And I’m glad that I’m getting older.

Leave a Reply