“You’re Not Fifty, Yet” (“Pushing Fifty” series)

A barber in Turkey: After trimming my beard, he contemplates my eyebrows.

So, you may wonder if I’m obsessed with my age, and, sure, I’ve never grown up. At the time of this writing I’m 47½.  But I’ll only be 47½ for a short while, and before I’ll know it, I’ll be 50.

Half a century is a full age. But the fullness is often framed by changes: more; and less.

  • More whiskers in my eyebrows, less hair on my head
  • More vitamins and supplements to take in the morning, less calories the rest of the day (at least, that’s what I’m striving for)
  • More belly fat, less energy
  • More times of reminiscence, fewer brain cells to contain the memories

I spent the other evening with some great guys. These are friends whom I looked up to when I was a teenager. At that time they were the young adults who were already out of college; and they were beginning their adult lives. I’ve been with these guys off and on for 30 years.

Every six weeks or so, for the past fifteen years, this group has traditionally met on a Monday evening for a meal, movie and prayer. I’ve been included with them on a few occasions before, and this time it was a real treat. I was so happy that my schedule lined up with theirs.[1]

These men have their traditions: meet for supper; joke with each other incessantly; buy candy; go to a movie; cram into a car and pray for each other. The candy purchasing seems to have died out as they are more concerned about their aging bodies, but if time permits, they drink coffee for a while before prayer (and it’s most likely decaf).

Dinner went great, and the movie kept our attention. After the movie, however, all four of my friends made beeline to the restroom. One looked at me and said, “its our new tradition.” Another remarked, “I could barely make it through the movie.” Another added, “I’m up at 3 every night.” And still another chuckled and said, “you’re not fifty, yet, Peyton.”

I waited outside the restroom for a couple of minutes. I consoled myself that I didn’t need to grow up, that fast. I chuckled to myself that they all had to go, right after the movie. The time of pray that followed was brief but warm. And then we dispersed to our own vehicles. When I arrived home, the first thing I did after kissing my waiting wife was to go to the bathroom.

Yes, I’m not fifty, yet, but it is around the corner.

[1] My schedule of living overseas for four out of every five years, and my busy travel schedule when in America, has meant that I have not had many occasions to meet with these guys in this setting.  I see them in other places like church, etc.

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