My brother, moving from Arizona to California earlier this week, seemed to identify one of those psychological moments when you find yourself making a mental transition from one state of mind to another.
Living within 20 minutes of another time zone, I regularly find myself traveling back and forth without ever adjusting my clock – literally or figuratively. My time in the next zone is always a visit – no need for a permanent change. Even when traveling around the country, I rarely change my watch. I am, after all, a visitor.
But, in life, some things are harder to change than the hands of a clock.
Recently I crossed one of those “threshold” birthdays – you know the ones. Something about ending with a zero tends to get between our ears. Logically we know we are the same person — only the calendar says we’re not.
One day I felt comfortable with my shirt hanging out over my jeans. The next, I wondered if I was too old.
Standing in front of the mirror, I strained to see what might have changed in the past couple days. After a few moments, I realized the only thing that had changed was between my ears.
People love to say “70 is the new 50” or “50 is the new 40.” Yeah, right. That is until you are 50-year old and looking in the mirror. Unless you own a magical mirror, the only person you see staring back is another 50-year old.
But regardless of what you hear, something changes.
Last week I visited my doctor for my regular tune-up. Although my BP, weight and other indicators were down, I found myself listening to his advice with a renewed interest. To top it off, I went in with a written list of things to talk about.
Suddenly it dawned on me, I am not a visitor to this new stage of life – this is my new world.
Like my brother, I’m finding I just might need to finally concede there are a few adjustments to the clock I’ll need to consider. I always thought one of the more difficult aspects of aging would be dealing with the physical challenges – sore knee or maybe a shoulder taking a bit longer to warm up. What I didn’t consider was the battle for my identity I’d discover raging inside my cranium.
I guess I should learn from my brother, suck it up and adjust my clock. Not that I’ll act much differently or wear different clothes. But denial is generally not a productive or useful way to spend time. I’ve decided to quit whining and move on.
With the thought of my brother crossing the state line, his belongings trailing behind, I can almost see him reaching up to adjust the clock in acknowledgement of his new world.
I guess even at this old age, I can still learn new tricks, right?
Woolsey is publisher of the Times-Georgian.