How old is old?
The short answer? It depends.
For my 2 year old granddaughter Lily, it’s the age when you wear big girl pants and can ride the carousel at the Brookfield Zoo by yourself. When you’re younger you want to be older. A birthday is an aspiration. You can drive when you’re 16. Vote when you’re 18. Most importantly, you can drink legally when you’re 21, the Holy Grail of birthdays.
You don’t think a whole lot about how old you are between 21 and 50. Oh, there are the high school and college reunions that give pause for reflection. Then there’s the day you decide you’re not signing up for the soccer or basketball league because of the atrophy of skills or that lingering pain in your knee.
But then, about the time you turn 50, you get an invitation to join AARP, as in the American Association of Retired Persons. Jesus. That’s a wake up call.
Yesterday I received another such call, Marsha and I are in our early 60’s and retired. So we can go to matinees of movies and plays. Yesterday we saw Million Dollar Quartet at the Apollo Theater. It’s had a very long run and tells the story through song of a night in December 1956 when Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash jammed at Sun Records in Memphis. It was a great show with lots of energy. Elvis closed it with a spirited rendition of Hound Dog. I noticed there were lots of old people rocking out in their seats. I was 7 in 1956, but I’m guessing these oldsters were in their teens then, so now there were pushing 70 years old.
Then it hit me: old is just someone older than you. When I’m 70 it will be 80. When I’m 80 it will be 90. Forever young.