By Joe Rector

I’m officially declaring my entrance into the old age population. Yes, some of you will say my membership started several years ago, but only now am I willing to accept the fact.

People now treat me like an old guy. They hold the door for me at stores. That’s something I’ve always tried to do for others, regardless of age. These days, it seems that folks don’t think I’m capable of holding a door open long enough to allow them to enter.

I have returned to the “gym” to complete my workout. Three days a week I make the trip and complete a routine I’ve used for some time. My intention isn’t to body build and be ripped with muscles. Instead, I’m fighting the battles to keep from getting too fat and have that droopy skin that always appears on upper arms and other places. No one has laughed at me yet for the smaller amounts of weights I lift, maybe because they realize that I’m at least strong enough to use a five-pound bar to knock the smugness right out of them.

Of course, my skinny legs are a dead giveaway to my age. They hurt from my hips to the ends of my toes. One day, my left knee has a pain in it when I climb stairs; the next day the right one takes a turn. My attempts at riding a stationary bike are moderately successful. I don’t last long before every joint and tendon and ligament is screaming in pain, and I admit that I call it quits for that session.

More so than ever, I “piddle.” This entails activities in which people engage when they have plenty of time on their hands. I’ve cleared a burn pile this summer, knocked down the rough edges of the ashes and dirt, and sown grass seed. My closet has been reorganized at least three times this spring, and I’m still not satisfied with it. I rearranged my office and built shelves on one wall. Just yesterday I finished making a seat from an old twin bed frame. Amy promises she’ll make a cover for a foam pad for the seat. My brother Jim just yesterday said he’d never seen my basement so clean and organized, and the same is true for my shop outside.

I say my membership is official now because my memory is in disarray. I walk into a room but can’t remember why; I forget what I ate for supper the night before; The most frightening thing is being unable to come up with the right word or name. I teased Mother for these things, and I bet she’s having a wonderful time watching as karma kicks in. Oh, that particular word or that person’s name eventually comes to me, but by then, neither is relevant.

So, I accept my place as an old geezer in this world. That doesn’t mean, however, that anyone can treat me as one. I still have plenty of strength to complete outside chores or projects, even though the next day might be one filled with sore parts. I continue to have more than enough opinion on any topic that comes up, and I can argue with any young whippersnapper. My prayer is that I not stay around if I lose my ability to be at least somewhat active or if my mind no longer continues to function as it should. I never want to be a burden to my family, and many things are worse than death.