I appreciate the many who took time to wish me a happy birthday this Sunday as I reached middle age, celebrating my 52nd birthday. Happy birthday to me.
As I sat around eating my tower of onion rings and boneless hotwings at Hooters on Sunday afternoon during my birthday meal, I took a bit of inventory of my mortality especially since I was eating greasy, yet tasty, onion rings.
Why exactly is the 50s considered middle age anyway? Are most of us so deluded or cocky to believe we are going to live to be 100? I can count the number of centenarians I know on one hand.
Actually, if you want to get down to it and face the brutal truth when it comes to life expectancy, you folks who are celebrating your 38th birthdays should be the ones proclaiming they have reached middle age because statistics tell us that’s the absolute middle for an average American, the ladies lasting a little bit longer than us guys and married folks living a bit longer than singles.
OK, enough of the downer here. Let me tell you the upside. I’m 52 and I feel great. I still play all kinds of sports and work out regularly. If truth be told I’m in better shape now than I was when I was 30. I’d always imagined 52 to be old-person age where you sat around and played Bingo and spoiled the grandkids by slipping them candy and then sending them home to drive their parents insane while they were on a sugar high.
Sure, I feel it the next day when I work out or play ball especially hard, but in all candor I’ve felt that way since I was 30. A wise man (not one from the Christmas story but a guy I actually know) once gave me a piece of advice which I recall clearly. He told me that you can’t ever stop being active because once you do, it’s over.
He’s right, once you give up and decide you can’t do anything anymore all you’re doing is wasting time until the Hearse backs up to your house and carries you off to the boneyard.
Your arms hurt, you say? Work your legs. Your legs hurt? Work your arms. Your back hurts? Work your front. We use pain for an excuse to give up and sit on the couch and eat Cheetos while the exercise bike in the other room gathers dust. It’s easy to do but the easy thing is rarely the right thing.
Does staying in shape guarantee a long life? Nope. Any of us could drop at any moment, either by natural causes or by stepping out in front of a steamroller.
Some say they want to go while they’re doing something they love. I say that’s crazy. Leave me alone while I’m doing something I love. Take me when I’m doing something that stinks. Hey, everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to go today.
Standard reporter Duane Sherrill can be reached at 473-2191.