Friday, 25 October 2013

Growing Old

Most of my friends would likely describe me as vibrant and young at heart. Others might have different words for me but I won't go into that here, I would prefer to stick with the positive. I certainly have a busy social life, with lots to do and my group of friends includes people ranging in age from their mid 20's to their late 50's. I'm not actually the oldest in the group, but I am up there. Still, my life is active, I've been out every night this week since Sunday. I will likely be home tonight; Friday nights are always a bit slow for me. I'm not sure why, they just are.

Nonetheless, even with the sense of vibrancy and life that I have on most days, there are days when I start to feel old, old and tired. There are days, and sometimes just moments, when my years hit me and I feel their full weight. Sometimes it's just a passing feeling, a sense that I am in the final stages of my life. Other times it's a full long while where I feel this sense of being "past it", out of place in my time.

Last night is a good example. I like to go to "Name That Tune" on Thursday nights. It starts at 8:00 PM and usually runs until around 11:00 PM. Some nights we hang around afterwards for a while, talking, catching up. There are people I go with on a regular basis and besides simply having fun at the event, I like their company and companionship.

Last night was different. Last night most of the "regulars" didn't show up; there was just a couple of my regular friends, myself, and a whole table of people I didn't know. You might think this would not be a problem for me and for the bulk of the evening it wasn't. These were young folks, mostly in their late 20's and early 30's, much younger than most of my friends. I just happened that way; that's who showed up. Still, a couple of my friends were there; I wasn't flying solo.

As the evening wore on, one of my friends had to leave early and the other left our table to join another. He is also single, but only in his mid-30's, and this other table had "better prospects". So there I was, alone, knowing nobody in a table filled with people with whom I had very little in common and even less shared experience. Still, I like naming that tune and we did well in terms of the game. Socially however I was very disconnected with this group.

Then it happened. One of the young people made a very pointed comment about my age. She was trying to make a joke but failed miserably. She just made me, and pretty much everyone else, uncomfortable. I can admit my age and have no problem with it. On the other hand her failed attempt at humour really made me realize how out of place I was, and how much I missed being with my regular group of friends, the people I know and care about.

I am not a kid anymore. I am a late middle-aged man with very poor social prospects. I am growing old alone, something that almost every one of us fears. At that moment, with her thoughtless words, I felt it hit me, more strongly than I expected. At that moment, with her thoughtless words, I simply wanted to go home and give it all up. I felt old.

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