June 17, 2015
I’ve recently come to the conclusion that Mr. Ashbury and I are on the very precipice of turning into a couple of old fuddy-duddies. It’s true! Time has sped up and, unlike when we were younger, each new year now brings measurable differences in how well we remember things, how much energy we have, and the length of our respective fuses.
I can recall visiting David’s parents when they were getting into their sixties. My father-in-law wasn’t the least bit shy about letting his inner curmudgeon step out and shine. My mother-in-law, for her part, was no slouch either when it came to getting her point of view across. She was just quieter about it, and more clever, as well.
Sometimes listening to the two of them yammering back and forth was the most fun we would have in a week. Dad wasn’t just set in his ways; he was thoroughly convinced that his way was absolutely the only way—and it didn’t matter one whit what the topic of conversation was at the time.
My husband and his father had often been at odds, not just when David had been a kid, but when he was a husband and father himself. Growing up, there were times when his father had been so rigid in his thinking, that it was no wonder my husband felt resentful. For example, have you ever heard of another kid being told that saying “trick or treat” on Halloween was unacceptable? My husband was instructed to be polite, and ask, “Do you have anything for Halloween, please?”, instead.
My father-in-law knew what things should cost, and the fact they cost more just meant someone was crooked, and he wasn’t going to stand for it! On one memorable occasion, his wife sent him to KFC to buy chicken for the family dinner. The price, in his mind, was outrageous. He came back with one container of fifteen pieces of chicken—to feed thirteen people. But he was right, and that was that.
There were numerous other times David recalled vividly, when his father would be what he considered unreasonable. The man came from the same generation as my mother, and the two of them had one trait in common. Even if it was proven they were wrong in a decision or “verdict” regarding their kids, the words “I apologize” never passed their lips.
So, you can imagine that nothing annoys my beloved more than when I, or one of our kids, points out that these days, he’s beginning to sound a lot like his father.
I suppose it’s unavoidable. We do get set in our ways as we get older. Our response times slow down, and so our ability to keep up with all the societal changes and changes in technology slows down, too. What things cost when we were in our prime is what things should cost, in our minds. Too many times, we either think, “why, back in my day...” or sometimes, we actually even say it.
At this point in my life, I feel like if I take a break from paying attention to what’s happening around me with regard to innovations, technology, or even the news, it would be like falling off a wagon, and then racing, trying to catch up to it. I really don’t want to fall behind.
For the most part, I don’t mind this aging thing. Life—when you consider the alternative—is not really so bad. Things that used to irritate the heck out of me don’t bother me so much anymore. I don’t really mind delays, because I’ve nearly got a handle on this “patience” thing. And when that handle becomes slippery from my gripping it too tightly for too long, I pull out my cell phone and play word games on it. That helps to pass the time just fine.
I don’t even mind it when younger people I encounter along the way think that older is synonymous with stupid. You can have a lot of fun yanking someone’s chain when they can’t see you for who you really are and make dumbass assumptions about you.
I’m looking forward to the time when I’m really old, and then I can be completely outrageous. If in ten years or so, my filters are still in place, I’ll see what I can do about yanking those suckers right out of there. I figure if done right, I’ll save myself the cost of going to the movies. My life will become comedy enough to keep me laughing.
And as we all know, laughter is the best medicine.