Saturday, March 31, 2007

Foiled Again, Plus Musings on Age

I'm still not dead. My wife's plot to kill me has utterly failed.

This is a bit of a surprise, since I thought that it was going to work.

As previously mentioned, she drafted me into a play that she was directing. In short, the guy that was supposed to be playing the lead went completely bonkers for a while, and never showed up for rehearsals. In the cast was someone who'd played the part before, so while the situation was being sorted out, he was named as the backup, the heir apparent in case it became necessary. However, were that to happen, there'd be nobody to play the part he was playing. As it happens, I've played that part before, so she asked me to be on tap. Normally, I'd be a swell guy & go along with it. I gotta live with the woman, and it's good to keep her happy. I do try my best. However, I had to object on two bases: One, I've been sick for a while, hadn't shaken it, and I wasn't sure it was a good idea to do something demanding quite yet. One of those damn things that just hangs on for what seems like forever. The second reason that the show in question was Godspell. For the uninitiated (and shame on you), it's a very high-energy play. The energy of the piece is, in essence, youthful, and generally you wouldn't cast people past 30 in it.

I'm, um, a little older than that. OK, I'm 47 (shut up!). So I ask, am I not too old to be in this cast? Nonsense, she says.

I got proven wrong on every point. One, I managed in spite of still not feeling good. Two, I did indeed have the "right" energy, and the play turned out very well, I'm happy to say. I'm not too old to be in Godspell. Yet. It could happen any minute, and it had better not, as the last performance is tomorrow.

Meanwhile, in a somewhat parallel vein, my 30th high school reunion is coming up in June (I said shut up!). I thought about how it was five years ago, and what it was likely to be like this time. How is the collective gang holding up? Some far better than others, no doubt. So, allow me a few moments of smugness here while I lend some credence to the old saw that you're as young as you feel:

-Not looking the age certainly helps. OK, I admit that the hair is colored, but it's only about 15% grey. I've avoided the sun my whole life, unless wearing SPF3,000 sunscreen (I come from a long line of pale people). Currently, I still have no lines on my face.
-I still have a good, energetic spring in my step. I just freakin' well did Godspell, after all.
-Unlike a certain percentage of the guys who'll show up at the reunion, I'll not be counted in with those who are fat, losing their hair, have a questionable heart, high cholesterol & blood pressure.... I need to shed a few pounds, OK, but I have none of those problems. I'm a performing artist, and I am my own instrument. I do try to take care of the thing.
-Mid-life crisis? You've gotta be kidding! Not me! I'm watching my contemporaries struggle their way through it, and for the life of me, I just don't get it. It would never occur to "trade in" my spouse for a "trophy wife"; we'll celebrate our silver anniversary this year, and thank you, she IS a trophy wife. If I had the money (which I do not; I mentioned that I'm a performing artist), I wouldn't be caught dead buying a red sports car or humongous SUV. Forget it, I'm a "greenie" and I want a hybrid car.

So much energy and money expended for them to "find out who they really are" or something like that. Regain their lost youth. The big mistakes therein: First, don't lose your youth; take it with you. It stays a lot fresher that way. Second: Friend, if you don't know who you are by now, then I'm sorry, but that's pretty pathetic. Try getting a mirror & make an honest assessment. If you don't like it, then do one small thing tomorrow to change it. The same the next day, and the next, and so on. Actually, it'll turn out that you're the same person you were, but you'll feel better about yourself because you're making better choices. That's a good thing! It's far better than the young wife (statistics overwhelmingly say that she won't stay with you, anyway) and the red sports car. That's degrading yourself, not changing. Being a slightly better person tomorrow in your words and deeds? Infinitely more valuable.

It's called aging gracefully, or so they say. In spite of everything I've just said, I think I'll cling to a little denial for a while. Don't worry, every time my 23 year old daughter walks into the room, it gets shot down.

The good thing is, I can always come back here, read my own words, and resolve not to be a hypocrite about it. I've just handed you the weapon with which to give me a reminder flesh wound.

I think that the point that the crisis-prone members of my age bracket miss is that it's not about what you did yesterday or twenty years ago. It's especially not about what you did not do in all that time.

It's always about what you decide to do tomorrow. Decide well, and I'll try to do the same.

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